This afternoon, Romney for President launched another new television ad, "Ready."
The ad highlights the very important choice voters will have to make when it comes to electing a candidate ready to make tough decisions. In Arkansas, Governor Mike Huckabee increased state spending, backed in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants and granted over 1,000 pardons and commutations. Governor Huckabee's attacks on the Bush administration's foreign policy has been called "ludicrous." In Massachusetts, Governor Romney took a different course. He held spending down and granted zero pardons. There is a clear difference in leadership.
The ad will begin airing today as part of the campaign's rotation in Iowa.
GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: "I'm Mitt Romney and I approved this message."
ANNOUNCER: "Two good men.
"But who is ready to make tough decisions?
"Mike Huckabee? Soft on government spending. He grew a $6 billion government into a $16 billion government.
"Backed in-state tuition benefits for illegals, and granted 1,033 pardons and commutations, including 12 murderers.
"His foreign policy? 'Ludicrous,' says Condoleezza Rice.
"Mitt Romney held spending down below inflation. Cut taxes. Zero pardons.
"The difference? Strong leadership."
AD FACTS: Script For "Ready" (TV:30):
GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY: "I'm Mitt Romney and I approved this message." ANNOUNCER: "Two good men. But who is ready to make tough decisions? Mike Huckabee? Soft on government spending. He grew a $6 billion government into a $16 billion government."
· Under Governor Huckabee, State Spending More Than Doubled From $6.6 Billion To $16.1 Billion. "During Huckabee's 10 years as governor, state spending more than doubled, from $6.6 billion to $16.1 billion in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006. Higher education and public schools got big increases, as did social services." (Daniel Nasaw, "Home Turf Not Rock Solid For Huckabee," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 10/4/07)
ANNOUNCER: "Backed in-state tuition benefits for illegals, and granted 1,033 pardons and commutations, including 12 murderers."
· Governor Huckabee Fought For A Bill Which Granted In-State Tuition Breaks For Illegals. "Other than the highway plan, the only bill in the governor's 21-bill legislative package that failed to win legislative approval was a proposal to make the children of illegal immigrants eligible for state-funded scholarships and in-state tuition to Arkansas colleges. After passing the House relatively early in the session, the bill faltered in the Senate where it was amended to remove the scholarship provision but fell just short of passage Tuesday and Wednesday. Huckabee said his office worked throughout the day Wednesday for the two Senate votes needed to pass the bill. 'I don't understand the opposition to it, I just honestly don't,' Huckabee said. 'It hurts me on a personal as well as a policy level to think that we are still debating issues that I kind of hoped we had put aside in the 1960s, maybe at the latest the 70s, and yet I understand people have deep passions about things usually they don't fully understand.'" (Melissa Nelson, "Governor Touts Successful End To Legislative Session," The Associated Press, 4/13/05)
· Governor Huckabee Granted 1,033 Pardons And Commutations, More Than Twice As Many As His Three Predecessors COMBINED. "As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee had a hand in twice as many pardons and commutations as his three predecessors combined. … Huckabee granted 1,033 pardons and commutations in his 10 1/2 years as governor of Arkansas. The acts of clemency benefited the stepson of a staff member, murderers who worked at the governor's mansion, a rock star and inmates who received good words from their pastors. … During his years as governor, Huckabee granted clemency an average of about once every four days. Huckabee's successor, Mike Beebe, has issued 40 so far this year, fewer than one a week. Bill Clinton, Frank White and Tucker granted 507 clemencies in the 17 1/2 years they served as governor." (Andrew DeMillo, "Huckabee Pardons Under Scrutiny," The Associated Press, 12/10/07)
· Governor Huckabee Commuted 12 Sentences For Murderers. "During his tenure, Huckabee has been criticized for his use of the clemency powers. Through April, the total sentence commutations issued by Huckabee were 146, including 12 for murderers, according to records at the secretary of state's office. A clemency can be either a sentence commutation or a pardon for someone who has already discharged his sentence, such as in Richards' situation." (Seth Blomeley, "It's A Gas, Gas, Gas: Rocker Seeks Pardon For '75 Fordyce Arrest," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 7/19/06)
ANNOUNCER: "His foreign policy? 'Ludicrous,' says Condoleezza Rice."
· Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice Said Huckabee's Criticism Of Bush Foreign Policy Was "Ludicrous." "After first saying 'I don't have time to comment on other people's comments', Rice took on Huckabee, head-on during an end-of-year State Department press briefing. 'The idea that this is a go-it-alone policy is just simply ludicrous. And one would only have to be not observing the facts, let me say that, to say that this is now a go-it-alone foreign policy,' Rice said." ("Rice: Huckabee Foreign Policy Criticism 'Ludicrous'," ABC News' Political Radar Blog, http://blogs.abcnews.com, Posted 12/21/07)
ANNOUNCER: "Mitt Romney held spending down below inflation. Cut taxes. Zero pardons. The difference? Strong leadership."
· Club For Growth: Governor Romney "Imposed Some Much-Needed Fiscal Discipline On A Very Liberal Massachusetts Legislature." "[O]n balance, he imposed some much-needed fiscal discipline on a very liberal Massachusetts Legislature." (The Club For Growth, "Mitt Romney's Record On Economic Issues," Press Release, 8/21/07)
· Governor Romney "Attempted To Cut Down On Government Spending By Streamlining Many Duplicative And Wasteful Elements On Beacon Hill." "To his credit, Romney attempted to cut down on government spending by streamlining many duplicative and wasteful elements of Beacon Hill. ... Governor Romney successfully consolidated the social service and public health bureaucracy and restructured the Metropolitan District Commission. Romney even eliminated half of the executive branch's press positions, saving $1.2 million." (The Club For Growth, "Mitt Romney's Record On Economic Issues," Press Release, 8/21/07)
· Governor Romney Turned The Legislature's Proposed Capital Gains Tax Hike Into A Tax Refund Instead. "Romney was more successful when he took on the State Legislature for imposing a retroactive tax on capital gains earnings. After a bloody fight, Romney succeeded in passing a bill preventing the capital gains tax from being applied retroactively, resulting in a rebate of $275 million for capital gains taxes collected in 2002. Governor Romney also signed legislation that provided property tax relief to seniors and legislation establishing a two-day tax-free shopping holiday in 2005." (The Club For Growth, "Mitt Romney's Record On Economic Issues," Press Release, 8/21/07)
· As Governor, Romney Denied All Requests For Pardon And Commutation. "During the four years Romney was in office, 100 requests for commutations and 172 requests for pardons were filed in the state. All were denied. 'Governor Romney's view is that it would take a compelling set of circumstances to set aside the punishment and guilt resulting from a criminal trial,' said Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom, who added he was not familiar with Circosta's case. 'The power to pardon should only be used in extraordinary circumstances.'" ("Romney Touts Record Of Never Granting Pardons," The Associated Press, 6/12/07)