McCain's 2008 Opposition Research File on Romney Posted on Web

A 200-page document from Sen. John McCain's 2008 campaign detailing opposition research on presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been posted to the Internet.

Romney also ran for president in 2008, when he was defeated by the Arizona senator for the Republican nomination. Recently, McCain has endorsed Romney. An unknown source has now posted the document containing all the research the 2008 McCain campaign conducted on Romney.

The document provides clues to how the McCain campaign looked to characterize Romney during the campaign. The document includes sections on social issues, economic issues, foreign policy, business records, and “flip-flops.”

Ten pages are devoted to recounting Romney's switch on the abortion issue from pro-choice to pro-life. It claims, for instance, that Romney's mother, Lenore Romney, took a pro-choice position when she ran for the U.S. Senate from Michigan in 1970, before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in all states in 1973.

The document also notes that Romney, in a 1994 debate with Ted Kennedy, said that his pro-choice position was influenced by the death of a family member from an illegal abortion.

One of the more controversial pieces of information that will likely come from the document has to do with requiring Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception. This issue is currently being debated at the national level as the secretary of Health and Human Services has proposed requiring all health care providers (Catholic hospitals would not be exempt) to provide contraceptive services, including “emergency contraceptives” or the “morning-after pill.” Critics of this policy argue it violates the freedom of conscience for religious service providers.

In December 2005, according to the McCain campaign document, Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, required Catholic hospitals to provide “emergency contraception” to rape victims.

Recently, Romney has been criticized by fellow candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry for his work as head of Bain Capital, a venture capital firm. They argue that Romney's work represents “bad capitalism” or “vulture capitalism” because it laid off workers and companies went bankrupt.

On Jan. 12, McCain defended Romney on “CBS This Morning,” saying, “These attacks on, quote, Bain Capital is really kind of anathema to everything that we believe in. We believe in job creation, and the record of Bain Captial is to take companies that would otherwise fail and restore them to some kind of viability, and sometimes that doesn't work, but, you know, when it always works is a thing called communism, where you keep everybody in business.”

In 2008, though, the McCain campaign had considered attacking Romney on his record at Bain. A bullet point in the document states, “Bain Capital has been criticized for relentless focus on bottom line at expense of workers and jobs.”

The document contains mostly facts without suggesting how those facts could be used against Romney in the campaign. The section on gay rights, for instance, shows what Romney has said about his position during the current campaign. Namely, he is opposed to discrimination of gays and opposed to gay marriage.

Another interesting tidbit revealed in the document is that in 1968, while Romney was a Mormon missionary in France, he was in a serious car injury that killed the wife of his mission's leader. For a time, Romney's parents had thought he had died also.

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