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Monday, October 22, 2012

Debates Put Focus on Romney\'s \'Day 1\' Pledges

“On Day 1,” Mitt Romney said at last Tuesday's presidential debate, “I will label China a currency manipulator.” Viewers of Monday night's debate could expect China's alleged currency manipulation to come up once more, as it is a stalwart of Mr. Romney's stump speech.

“Let me tell you, on Day 1 of my administration, I will label China a currency manipulator,” Mr. Romney said at a rally in Ohio, three days before the last debate.

“When their prices are low and then they compete with our manufacturers, our guys go out of business and people lose jobs,” he told wire-makers in Ohio in late September. “And that's why one thing I will do from Day 1 is label China a currency manipulator.”

Whether or not China truly is manipulating its currency, Mr. Romney would still have a busy first day in office. In remarks throughout this election season, Mr. Romney's has often said that he will tackle issues “on Day 1.”

“I can execute a - an executive order on Day 1 that grants a waiver to all 50 states from ‘Obamacare,' ” Mr. Romney told a group of small-business owners in June, referring to President Obama's health care legislation. Under the law, some states and insurers have been granted waivers when they have shown that the law's requirements would significantly increase premiums or decrease benefits.

“Day 1 I can also file legislation that repeals ‘Obamacare,' ” Mr. Romney said at the same event, but acknowledged that he would need majorities in both houses of Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In last week's debate, Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama also sparred over domestic energy production and the administration's indefinite rejection of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, another issue that Mr. Romney likes to bring up on the campaign trail.

“I can guarantee you, if I'm president on Day 1 we're going to get the approval for that pipeline from Canada. And if I have to build it myself to get it here, I'll get that oil into America,” Mr. Romney said at a June campaign event in Ohio.

And in an October event in Ohio, Mr. Romney said that on Day 1 he would order the Department of Commerce to “start providing permits and licenses to people who've already been approved to drill on federal lands and in federal waters and in Alaska.”

Addressing Hispanic business leaders in Los Angeles last month, Mr. Romney promised to get the ball rolling on spending cuts. “I'll pursue a 5 percent cut in nonsecurity discretionary spending on my first day in office,” he said.

In August, at another event in Ohio, Mr. Romney leveled a charge that Mr. Obama, in granting the states more authority in how they distribute federal assistance, removed a requirement for recipients of welfare to be working.

“And taking work out of welfare is something I'll change, I'll tell you that, Day 1,” Mr. Romney said.

At the June event where he spoke about health care, Mr. Romney also brought up the broad topic of regulation. “An immediate step on Day 1 is, I would execute an executive order which directed that all regulations that have not yet been implemented be put on hold,” he said.

“As a first act, one of the executive orders I will carry out in the first day is one saying that on federal projects, union or nonunion can work, not just union,” Mr. Romney told workers in Charlotte, N.C., in May.

But some things, like outreach to leaders in Congress, would not wait for Day 1.

“I will sit down on Day 1 - actually the day after I get elected, I'll sit down with leaders - the Democratic leaders as well as Republican leaders,” Mr. Romney said at the presidential debate in Denver earlier this month.

Mr. Romney, of course, wouldn't be the first president to make big plans for his first days and weeks in office.

On his third full day in office, Mr. Obama lifted a restriction on feder al money for international organizations that provide abortions overseas. Known as the Mexico City Policy, the ban originated in 1984 under President Ronald Reagan, and it has come and gone as the party that controls the White House changes hands.

President Bill Clinton removed the ban shortly after taking office in 1993. President George W. Bush reinstated it on a similar timeline.

So in February, Mr. Romney told the Conservative Political Action Conference to expect the same. “On Day 1, I will reinstate the Mexico City Policy,” he said.