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 Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Is the Occupy Wall Street movement good for America?
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, wrote the following in his Oct. 21, 2011 Huffington Post article "Government Picking Winners and Losers = Corruption":
"I’ve been trying to figure out what the 'Occupy' protesters are protesting, so this week, while in New York, I took the time to visit the protesters and just talk to them. What I found is pretty straightforward: They are angry about a system that is being gamed for the benefit of a connected few. I also concluded that it is a mistake to dismiss these protests, as the Establishment is trying to do, as a bunch of malcontents.
The fact is, Americans are angry, and Wall Street may be as good a target as any. Why shouldn’t we be protesting the fact that our tax dollars were used to bail out AIG and General Motors and a bunch of banks, while the rest of us — who aren’t too big to fail — are left to sink or swim in an economy the politicians have strangled with deficit spending, over-regulation and punitive taxation?...
The system is corrupt. There is no other way to describe it, and it’s time we faced that simple truth. And maybe instead of dismissing or trying to manipulate the Occupiers to partisan advantage, we should all just go join them. All we need to agree about is that the status quo sucks.” Oct. 21, 2011 Gary Johnson
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, stated the following in an Oct. 18, 2011 interview on ABC News Nightline, available at www.abcnews.go.com:
"I understand the frustrations being expressed in those [Occupy Wall Street] protests. In some ways, they’re not that different from some of the protests that we saw coming from the Tea Party. Both on the left and the right, I think people feel separated from their government. They feel that their institutions aren’t looking out for them.
The most important thing we can do right now is those of us in leadership letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their side, and that we want to set up a system in which hard work, responsibility, doing what you’re supposed to do, is rewarded. And that people who are irresponsible, who are reckless, who don’t feel a sense of obligation to their communities and their companies and their workers that those folks aren’t rewarded." Oct. 18, 2011 Barack Obama
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, said in response to a question about Occupy Wall Street at an Oct. 4, 2011 campaign stop at a Florida retirement community, available at nationaljournal.com:
“I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare.” Oct. 4, 2011 Mitt Romney
Jill Stein, MD, former Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, was quoted in a Feb. 1, 2012 article "Stein Condemns Police Attacks on Oakland, DC, Miami," available at www.jillstein.org:
"I stand firmly with those brave Americans in the Occupy Wall Street Movement in hundreds of communities across our country who have been willing to put their bodies on the line for democracy. The demand to end the rule of the 1% is the civil rights movement of our time. People are rising up to demand a more just nation, and police brutality and state violence are being unleashed to suppress democracy for the 99%...
Occupying public spaces as protest is a constitutionally protected form of free speech. I call upon local, state and federal officials to stop attacking the Occupy Wall Street movement. I also call upon our courts to enforce the constitution and protect the first amendment rights of the occupiers." Feb. 1, 2012 Jill Stein
Michele Bachmann, US Representative (R-MN), said the following in a Nov. 3, 2011 speech in Ames, IA, according to the abcnews.go.com article "Bachmann Targets Occupy Wall Street, Warns of U.S. Becoming Banana Republic:"
"A vocal minority called Occupy Wall Street believes that the problem we face is capitalism or free markets. It’s not. The problem is government doing what both the constitution and decent morality prohibit, that is cronyism capitalism, or forcefully taking your money for the purpose of paying off a politician’s political friends. For your sake and your future, America, and Occupy Wall Street in particular, needs to wake up and stop blaming job creators for the failures created by selfish politicians who wink at their political donors." Nov. 3, 2011 Michele Bachmann
Herman Cain, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and Chairman of Godfather's Pizza, stated the following during an Oct. 5, 2011 interview, "Herman Cain: I'm More Than the 'Anti-Romney,'" available at blogs.wsj.com:
"I don't have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration. Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks, if you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself!... These demonstrations I honestly don't understand what they are looking for, to me they come across more as anti-capitalism, thats basically what it comes across as...
It is not a person's fault if they succeeded, it is a person's fault if they failed. This is why I don't understand these demonstrations or what they are looking for." Oct. 5, 2011 Herman Cain
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, stated the following during the Nov. 19, 2011 "Thanksgiving Family Forum," sponsored by The Family Leader in Des Moines, IA, available on rawstory.com:
"All of the Occupy movement starts with the premise that we all owe them everything. They take over a public park they didn't pay for, to go near by to use bathrooms they didn’t pay for, to beg for food from places they they don’t want to pay for, to obstruct those that are going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms and to sustain the park so that they can self-righteously explain that they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything.
Now, that is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country and why you need to reassert something as simple as saying to them, 'Go get a job right after you take a bath.'" Nov. 19, 2011 Newt Gingrich
Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah, stated the following during the Nov. 9, 2011 Republican presidential candidate debate hosted by CNBC and the Michigan Republican Party in Rochester, MI, available at www.cnbc.com:
"Let me just say that I want to be the president of the 99 percent. I also want to be the president of the 1 percent. This nation is divided, and it's painful, and it is unnatural for the most optimistic, blue-sky people this world has ever known. We are problem-solvers.
When I hear out the people who are part of the Wall Street protests, I say, thank goodness we have the ability to speak out. I might not agree with everything they say. I don't like the anti-capitalism messages. But I do agree that this country is never again going to bail out corporations. I do agree...
Thank you. I do agree that we have blown through trillions and trillions of dollars with nothing to show on the balance sheet but debt, and no uplift in our ability to compete, and no addressing our level of unemployment.
And I do agree that we have institutions, banks that are too big to fail in this country. And until we address that problem - we can fix taxes. We can fix the regulatory environment. We can move toward energy independence. So long as we have investment banks that are too big to fail, we are setting ourselves up for long-term disaster and failure." Nov. 9, 2011 Jon Huntsman
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated the following during the Nov. 9, 2011 Republican presidential candidate debate hosted by CNBC and the Michigan Republican Party in Rochester, MI, available at cnbc.com:
"[T]here is a lot of crony capitalism going on in this country.
And that has to be distinguished from real capitalism, because this occupation stuff on Wall Street, if you're going after crony capitalism, I'm all for it. And those are the people who benefit from contracts from government, benefits from the Federal Reserve, benefits from all of the bailouts. They don't deserve compassion... they deserve to have all their benefits removed. But crony capitalism isn't when somebody makes money and they produce a product. That is very important. We have to distinguish the two.
And unfortunately, I think some people mix that. But this, to me, is so vital, that we recognize what crony - what capitalism is versus crony capitalism. And believe me, when you have an inflationary environment, and all this speculation, and all the bailouts due to monetary system, believe me, you get a majority of crony capitalism, and that's why we're facing this crisis today." Nov. 9, 2011 Ron Paul
Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, stated the following in a Nov. 3, 2011 video interview with Shaky Hand Productions when asked about Occupy Wall Street, available at www.sfgate.com:
"I think it again is a reflection of the failure of the federal government. [After] TARP and the stimulus… you’ve got Main Street mom and pop out there trying to keep their businesses open, and a lot of times they haven’t. And they’re looking around watching Washington bail out big businesses and going, what the heck is going on here?" Nov. 3, 2011 Rick Perry
Buddy Roemer, former Governor of Louisiana, stated the following in hisNov. 15, 2011 statement "Buddy Roemer Slams Mike Bloomberg for Cops Clearing Occupy Wall Street- Sunshine State News," available at www.buddyroemer.com:
"These young people of Occupy Wall Street have my total support. I have walked among them and listened. I support, with my actions, their contention that something smells of corruption in America when the few who give large sums of money to politicians receive special favors in return, while the average citizen is foreclosed-on and forgotten. They are asking questions about injustice, and special-interest control, and institutional corruption that need to be asked, that must be asked in a nation headed in the wrong direction.
The actions of the city today have confirmed the young peoples' worst fears about the establishment: They will not listen. After all, the establishment is safely protected in the tower of the top 1 percent. The rest of America has no such bailout protection, and should be outraged by the midnight raid on the Constitution and on the young with the courage to speak in public what so many feel in private." Nov. 15, 2011 Buddy Roemer
Rick Santorum, former US Senator (R-PA), stated the following during an Oct. 7, 2011 interview with the Huffington Post at the Values Voter Summit, "Rick Santorum Addresses Occupy Wall Street," available at www.5min.com:
"I would say that the Occupy Wall Street movement has a legitimate claim that people who did things that they should not have done have not been held accountable and have been bailed out by Democrats and Republicans alike, that is a legitimate claim...
[Y]ou create a moral hazard in the future when you allow people who did things that were clearly illegal and immoral to get away with it and be compensated richly for it. So I understand the motivation behind it, I think the answers they have with respect to how you solve that problem - I would go in a different direction...
There is one thing to have a common concern about how the government functioned with respect to bailing out Wall Street, and the solutions to the problem. I think the solution that the Occupy Wall Street folks would have, which is much more intrusive government involvement in that area, where I think the Tea Party would say... the problem was intrusiveness and the fact that government did not regulate in a proper way..." Oct. 7, 2011 Rick Santorum