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Sunday, January 8, 2012

ACLU candidate report card ranks Republican nominees

By JOSEPH G. COTE

Staff Writer

Two groups recently released report cards ranking Republican candidates on how well they stick to the Constitution and on women’s issues.

The American Civil Liberties Union’s Candidate Report Card ranked candidates for the Republican nomination and President Barack Obama on how well – or poorly – they adhere to the Constitution.

The rankings, represented by lit or unlit “Lady Liberty torches,” were based on seven categories: humane immigration policy, closing Guantanamo Bay and ending indefinite detentions, gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, ending torture, ending a surveillance state, gay marriage and freedom of reproductive choice. Candidates could score up to four torches in each category, according to the report.

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson was at the top of the scale, scoring 21 torches, racking up the full four torches for his stances on repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and supporting gay marriage. Johnson has filed as a Libertarian candidate.

Of those left in the Republican field, Texas Congressman Ron Paul scored highest. He got 18 torches, scoring four torches for his stance on ending indefinite detentions and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Obama was third with 16 torches, including four for his stance on repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Former Utah Gov. John Huntsman scored 12 torches.

At the other end of the spectrum are three candidates who scored zero torches: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.; and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. Buddy Roemer, a former representative and Louisiana governor, scored just one torch, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry each scored two, according to the report.

The second scorecard was put out by Emily’s List, a group that raises money for candidates who support women’s rights. The scorecard ranked candidates on their stances on five areas of women’s rights: access to woman’s health care, health care reform, jobs, retirement and medicare, and workplace fairness.

None of the candidates did very well. Perry had the fewest strikes with six, and he had the only check mark among the seven candidates evaluated.

Gingrich led – or trailed – the pack with 14 strikes. Bachmann had 12 strikes, and Romney and Paul each had 11. Santorum, with nine strikes, and Huntsman, with eight, rounded out the list.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).