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Mitt Romney Biography

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Mitt Romney

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Ethan Miller / Getty Images News

Mitt Romney is a candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. He is a businessman and former governor of Massachusetts whose signature accomplishments include signing into law a statewide health reform program that gave most residents access to insurance. Romney is a frontrunner for the nomination.

See also: 2012 Republican Primary Results

Presidential Race of 2012

Romney was among nearly a dozen Republicans who sought the party's nomination to run against Democratic President Barack Obama, who was seen as vulnerable amid relatively high unemployment and the lingering effects of The Great Recession.

He was believed to have won the Iowa caucuses, but a final count revealed the winner to be former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

Romney's opponents initially tried to portray him as a moderate, and attacked the health care reform law. Later, they criticized Romney's wealth and tried to portray him as being out of touch with middle-class Americans. Romney’s net worth was estimated to be between $190 million and $250 million.

Political Career

Romney served one four-year term as governor of Massachusetts, from 2003 until 2007. He did not seek re-election to a second term. He took credit for restructuring and consolidating state government programs and cutting spending to close a $3 billion budget gap. Romney also claims that his spending vetoes helped Massachusetts build up a $2 billion rainy day fund by the time he left office in January 2007.

Romney unsuccessfully sought the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, which was won by U.S. Sen. John McCain. He also challenged Democratic U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in 1994, but lost the election even though many Republicans were successful that year.

Business Career

Romney worked as a business consultant for several years before founding the private equity investment firm Bain Capital in 1984. Romney has claimed his firm helped to launch or rebuild hundreds of companies including Staples, Bright Horizons and The Sports Authority.

Romney also served as chief executive officer of the consulting firm Bain & Company. He has said he helped turn the company around in a time of financial turmoil.

On the campaign trail, Romney has stressed that he has spent most of his life working in the private sector and is not a career politician.

Romney was also tapped to organize the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, an event that had been plagued by scandal and was on the verge of collapse.

Controversies

Romney made several verbal gaffes on the campaign trail that opponents used to portray him as being out of touch with middle-class Americans.

At a December 2011 debate in Iowa, Romney challenged Texas Gov. Rick Perry to a $10,000 bet over the individual mandate claus in President Barack Obama's national health care overhaul.

Perry declined the bet, and later described Romney's attempted wager “a little out of touch with the normal Iowa citizen.”

Romney was widely condemned by both his Republican opponents and liberal pundits in February 2012 when he said he was most concerned about helping middle-class Americans and less concerned about providing aid to the very poor.

“I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there,” Romney told CNN. “If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”

Religion

Romney is a Mormon and would be the first major-party presidential nominee who belongs to the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Education

Romney earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from Brigham Young University in 1971. He went on to earn dual degrees in business and law from Harvard Law and Harvard Business School in 1975.

Family

Romney has been married to wife Ann Romney said 1969, whom he first met in elementary school. The couple has five sons and 16 grandchildren.

Romney is the son of former Michigan Gov. George W. Romney and Lenore Romney.

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