Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed by party and in alphabetical order by last name. Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Should an affair outside of marriage disqualify a candidate for public office?
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, issued the following statement through his Communications Director, Joe Hunter, in a Feb. 10, 2012 email to ProCon.org:
"Honesty and transparency will provide voters with the information they need to make that decision for themselves. Other than the requirements of the Constitution and governing laws, it is not for me to render judgments as to personal qualifications for office." Feb. 10, 2012 Gary Johnson
Barack Obama, US Senator (D-IL) at the time of the quote, stated in a Dec. 19, 2007 interview titled "Candidates Offer Views on Infidelity" onCBS Evening News with Katie Couric:
"[Katie] Couric: Should infidelity qualify someone, or should infidel...
[Katie] Couric: ...infidelity disqualify someone?
Obama: You know...I'm very cautious about applying strict moral rules to...or a blanket universal rule to...people. Because, you know, I mean, there are some people who might say that the fact that, you know, I indulged in drugs when I was young, disqualifies me. I mean, there are a lot of ways that you can apply that kind of morality. What I'm always hopeful of is that people...judge our public servants based on their passion, their commitment, their public integrity, how they operate with that public trust. And, you know, if we start getting too sanctimonious about some of these issues then there aren't going to be that many people who are able or willing to serve." Dec. 19, 2007 Barack Obama
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following in a Dec. 19, 2007 interview with Katie Couric on CBS Evening News, available at CBSNew.com:
"[Katie] Couric: Well, what do you think of people who base their judgment at least partially on a candidate's ability to remain faithful to his or her spouse?
[Mitt] Romney: You know, I let people look at me any way they want to. I'm not gonna give advice to the American people in which aspects of a person's life they look at. After all, the president of the United States is gonna be under a microscope. He will be. The first lady will be. The whole family will be. Every mistake will be open to the world. In some respects, you respect the nation.
In some respects you represent an example to the children of America. So we're gonna get looked at in all sorts of ways. And I'm not gonna try and counsel the American people as to what to look at. I know they look at my faith, for instance. And I'm happy to have them do so. Some are critical. Some are positive. It's just part of the package. And take me as ... the whole character that I am.
Couric: Do you think that people shouldn't vote for candidates if they are -- commit adultery, for example?
Romney: I think people should be able to do what they want to do. And express their own views when they get into the ... voting booth. I'm not gonna tell them how to ... do that. And I know that people will, again, take their own counsel." Dec. 19, 2007 Mitt Romney
Lin Wood, attorney for Herman Cain, issued the following statement on Cain's behalf, as quoted partially in a Nov. 28, 2011 article, "Herman Cain Denies Report of 13 Year Affair," available at www.latimes.com:
"Mr. Cain has been informed today that your television station [Atlanta television station WAGA] plans to broadcast a story this evening [Nov. 28, 2011] in which a female will make an accusation that she engaged in a 13-year-long physical relationship with Mr. Cain. This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace - this is not an accusation of an assault - which are subject matters of legitimate inquiry to a political candidate...
Rather, this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults - a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. The public's right to know and the media's right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one's bedroom door... Mr. Cain has alerted his wife to this new accusation and discussed it with her. He has no obligation to discuss these types of accusations publicly with the media and he will not do so even if his principled position is viewed unfavorably by members of the media." Nov. 28, 2011 Herman Cain
[Editors Note: On Nov. 28, 2011, Ginger White, a businesswoman from Atlanta, GA, accused Herman Cain of having a 13-year-long extramarital affair with her. Herman Cain has been married to his wife, Gloria Cain, since 1968.]
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, stated the following in response to a question about his admitted marital infidelity, at a public forum at the University of Pennsylvania on Feb. 22, 2011, available on the Outside the Beltway website:
"I will be totally candid. I've had a life which, on occasion, has had problems. I believe in a forgiving God, and the American people will have to decide whether that's their primary concern. If the primary concern of the American people is my past, my candidacy would be irrelevant. If the primary concern of the American people is the future, they have to decide who can effectively get us to a future in which we are economically prosperous, militarily safe, and will maximize freedom for the American people. And that’s a debate I’ll be happy to have with your candidate or any other candidate..." Feb. 22, 2011 Newt Gingrich
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated the following during the Dec. 10, 2011 Republican presidential debate in Des Moines, IA, available at www.abcnews.go.com:
"You know, I think character is, obviously - very important. I - I don't think it should be necessary to have to talk about it. I think it should show through in the way we live. And I think it should show through in - in a marriage. And I happen to have been married for 54 years and family person. But, I don't think we should have to talk about it. But, you know what?... if your marriage vows are important, what about our oath of office? That's what really gets to me." Dec. 10, 2011 Ron Paul
Rick Santorum, former US Senator (R-PA), stated the following at a Mar. 7, 2011 Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event in response to a question about Newt Gingrich's "affairs and infidelity," available on ThinkProgress.org:
"Look, I think people should be able to articulate the positions they feel are best for society and with the understanding that we all fall short of what we think is the best sometimes. I don't want people who because they've felt they had a fault in their life feel you can't stand up and say, this is what's optimal, this is what’s best.
...I think it’s important that we all understand that just because you fall short of the mark doesn't mean you shouldn't stand and say 'This is what's best. And even though I may not have lived up to it, this is what's best, this is what's good for society,' and I think that's the case on a lot of fronts." Mar. 7, 2011 Rick Santorum