Romney versus Obama breakdown on key issues

Election Day is one week away, campaign season is winding down, and many American voters have chosen their candidates. However, for those of you who remain undecided, here is a breakdown of the issues most important to young people. Take a look at where former Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama stand on higher education, social issues and the economy in order to make an informed decision on Nov. 6.

Higher education

Burdett Loomis, a political science professor, said both candidates are not spending much time focusing on youth issues, like student loan debt.

“I think that issues we ordinarily hear of like students loans are almost irrelevant,” Loomis said. “They’re not spending time there because they don’t think there are a lot of votes there.”

However, Democratic state Rep. Barbara Ballard said both candidates are trying to appeal to young voters.

“They know that 18- to 29-year-olds are crucial,” she said. “They can’t write off an important sect of American society; they need to give them a reason to vote.”

In January 2012, Obama spoke at the University of Michigan about the need for universities to stop tuition increases.

“We should push colleges to do better,” he said. “We should hold them accountable if they don’t.”

Higher education is still on his radar. According to, the president plans to cut tuition growth in half over the next 10 years by expanding student aid and working with states and universities. He invested about $2 billion in community colleges and hopes to create a relationship between community colleges and businesses to train 2 million Americans for employment. Obama has also proposed a “Pay As you Earn” program that would make federal loans cheaper for low-income borrowers by capping monthly loan repayment at 10 percent of discretionary income. To see if you qualify for this program, go to

According to, the former Massachusetts governor plans to simplify the financial aid system. He would like to cut federal spending; instead of focusing on community or four-year colleges, Romney thinks the U.S. should turn its attention to skill-training programs.
Loomis said he thinks Romney would cut federal Pell Grants if elected.

“His sense is that he will make the economy better and that will be better for everybody,” Loomis said.

Reproductive Rights

Loomis said that each candidate has used social issues to speak to their committed supporters because most voters already have clear preferences on one side or the other. He also said the candidates’ stance on abortion restrictions may sway peoples’ opinions.
“Romney and Ryan are talking about severe restrictions on abortion. There are people arguing for no abortions for rape or incest victims,” Loomis said. “I think that cuts against the values of most young people in a general way.”

According to, because of the Affordable Health Care Act, some insurance plans will fully cover birth control without co-pays or deductibles, as part of women’s preventive care. The site also reads, “President Obama believes a woman’s health care choices are personal decisions, best made with her doctor and without interference from politicians.”

According to Mitt Romney’s website, he is pro-life and views abortion as a problem because he believes life begins at conception; he wants the law to reflect this idea.  Romney would like the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and have states determine their own abortion laws. Romney also supports the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for abortions; he plans to end federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood.


The economy and jobs have been a major focus during the campaign season; some pundits have pointed out that this seems to be an election based on one issue.   Romney has been focusing on the question “Are you better off than four years ago?” to reveal Obama’s failure with the economy. Obama has fought back by listing the steps he has taken with job creation.

According to the Associated Press Economy Survey, whoever wins the presidential election will face the task of managing big economic threats, including the effects of a weakened European economy on U.S. exports and jobs.

According to, the president should be credited with refusing to let the American auto industry die. He also made efforts to revive manufacturing in the U.S., and has added about 450,000 jobs in less than two years.

Loomis said Obama’s economic plan is more specific than Romney’s.

“It’s not perfect,” Loomis said. “But he plans to raise taxes on the wealthy a little big, work on creating more manufacturing jobs and invest more in science.”
Obama’s website also says that he passed Wall Street reform “to make sure that Americans would never again have to pay to bail out big banks.”

According to NBC News, Romney closed his speech in Iowa on Friday by highlighting the need for “big change” regarding the economy.

“This is an election of consequence,” Romney said. “Our campaign is about big things, because we happen to believe that America faces big challenges. We recognize this is a year with a big choice, and the American people want to see big changes. And together we can bring that kind of change, real change to our country.”

According to his website, Romney seeks to reduce taxes, spending, regulation and government programs. He also wants states to have the power to make economic decisions. To achieve these goals, he created a five-part proposal to grow the economy. He hopes to use the plan to create 12 million jobs in four years, an aim that he can achieve with the Americans in the private sector. Part of his plan is working toward energy independence by 2020. He also wants to increase trade, heighten the performance of public schools, cut the deficit and help small businesses.

“Romney feels that government should get out of the way. He thinks that if he is elected and free market forces coming into play, the American economy will rebound more quickly,” Loomis said.

  • Updated Oct. 30, 2012 at 9:20 pm
  • Edited by Whitney Bolden
  • Dan Dutcher

    I’m disappointed. I would think, as an open-minded college newspaper, ALL the candidates might be featured in this. There are more than two and I think it’s the obligation of the press to inform the public of all the choices available.

    Gary Johnson, a Libertarian candidate from New Mexico, and Chuck Baldwin, a Reform candidate from Florida, are also running on the KS ballot. There are six total, but only four to choose from in Kansas. However, that’s a different story all together.

  • Calvin O

    Professor Loomis “thinks” that Romney will end Pell Grants? Does he have any proof?
    As for Obama, how can he as the President of the United States force state and private universities to lower their tuition? He can’t plain and simple.
    Once again the redoubtable Professor Loomis say that “there are people” who want to get rid of exceptions for rape and life of the mother. He didn’t say that Mitt Romney wants to do that. Not quite honest. Many people, including the original Jane Roe, have come out against the federal law on abortion. It is a state issue. Overturning Roe V Wade will not end abortion and the Hyde amendment has been around since Ronald Reagan.
    A plan that has not worked is not much of a plan even if it is more detailed Professor Loomis and we know that more of the same is not the answer. In past recessions (yes, there have been many) American industry fought back to create jobs and get the economy going again. Only FDR and Obama have fought to contain that industry might. New regulations, new tax laws, more uncertainty have stymied industry and still the economy is slowly growing. How slowly, in 1981 Ronald Reagan inherited argueably a worse economy and by this time in his first term America had created over 8 million jobs. Reagan and Kennedy both stimulated the economy by lowering taxes. This left more money in the economy and that is the life blood of any economy. Money that goes to government does nothing to grow the economy. It can maintain only but at some point the economy has to continue on its own.
    I beg to differ that Obama saved the auto industry. Ford took no bailout money and is showing a profit. Chrysler took bailout money and now Fiat (who bought Jeep) is going to build some plants in China to sell Jeeps. GM should have declared bankruptcy, zero’d the union contracts, and came out of bankruptcy leaner and meaner. Now they are owned partially by the very unions that put them in this predictament. GM still owes close to $30 billion dollars to the American taxpayer and repayment doesn’t look like it will happen in the future. We don’t even get a discount on a new car.
    This election is about the economy and character, and competence. Something that Romney has in spades for all three. Obama, as a community organizer, only knows how to milk an economy, his performance in Libya shows a complete lack of anything resembling character, and he has proven himself to be incompetent in most things unless he continues along with Bush’s plan in Iraq or Afghanistan.

  • Calvin O

    I suppose that Ms. Wentling and Ms. Bolden also deserve some criticism for falling for the bias. Such is the state of journalism today.

    • Kelly

      “Edited by Whitney Bolden” How, in any way, does that mean she deserves criticism?