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Where do 2012's presidential candidates stand on video games?

Come next week, Barack Obama will be defending his seat as president of the United States against one Mitt Romney at the polls,but while they spent three debates talking about a range of domestic issues and foreign policy, they never did once bring up gaming. We're here to fix that. We've assembled everything Governor Romney and President Obama (and Ron Paul) have said about gaming, so that you can head to the polls as informed as possible.

Mitt Romney (Republican)

On the Republican ticket for president is former Governor of Massachusetts, Willard Mitt Romney. Romney has brought up video games on occasion during his political career, once when answering a political questionnaire, saying “I want to restore values so children are protected from a societal cesspool of filth, pornography, violence, sex, and perversion."

That, alone, isn't all that bad, but the other half of the quote is more worrisome to gamers: "I’ve proposed that we enforce our obscenity laws again and that we get serious against those retailers that sell adult video games that are filled with violence and that we go after those retailers.”

First, his reference to "adult games" shows that he might not fully understand the ESRB rating system. Second, the obscenity law Romney references is infrequently used due to its conflicts with freedom of speech (and because the US actually has no legal definition for what is and what isn’t obscene).

Romney's 2008 ad mentions that he'd like to see less violence in video games

Romney mentioned games again soon after in a 2008 advertisement entitled “Ocean,” where he said that he is “deeply troubled about the culture that surrounds our kids today.” After discussing the Columbine school shooting and quoting political author Peggy Noonan, he added “I’d like to see less violence and sex on TV and in video games and in movies.” Since then he hasn’t said much on the issue, though we’ve no reason to believe he’s suddenly become a convert.

Barack Obama (Democrat)

Barack Hussein Obama II, the current United States president and democratic candidate for the 2012 election, has talked about video games and the industry on several occasions since his election in 2008. Recently, he lumped them together with iPods and other electronics as “a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation." He explained that this "is not only putting new pressures on you. It is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy."

He also brought up gaming when talking about health concerns, but it’s not as damning: “The second step that we can all agree on is to invest more in preventive care so that we can avoid illness and disease in the first place. That starts with each of us taking more responsibility for our health and the health of our children. It means quitting smoking, going in for that mammogram or colon cancer screening. It means going for a run or hitting the gym, and raising our children to step away from the video games and spend more time playing outside.”

Obama also has talked about specific games, mentioning that he bought his daughters Just Dance 3 for the Wii for the holidays (which proves that he doesn’t read GamesRadar or else he would have known that Dance Central was the way to go) and even mentioning Grand Theft Auto at one point. "I was just catching the news this morning about Grand Theft Auto, this video game, which is gonna break all records and make goo-gobs of money for whoever designed it. Now, this isn't intended for kids, although I promise you there are kids who are playing it." This shows that he at least has some grasp of the rating system, or at least the idea that games can be for adults.

He went on to recite the same thing people said about televisions when they first became popular, making him sound like an old man yelling at the kids on his lawn: "But these video games are raising our kids. Across the board, middle-class, upper-class, working-class kids, they're spending a huge amount of their time not on their studies, but on entertainment. And so part of our job is going to have to be to inspire the entire country to say, 'How are we giving our kids a thirst for knowledge?' And turning off the TV set, and getting them to be engaged and interested, like their future really does matter on how well they do in school." He also said that he wants kids to make games and we doubt anyone will disagree with that.


...and don't forget about Ron Paul!

Ronald Ernest "Ron" Paul's supporters didn't give up after the Republican party passed him over, and there's an unofficial movement asking voters to write in the candidate (official Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson be damned). Has been called the “gamer’s candidate" by someone probably because of his support on social networks and in games like World of Warcraft, where players actually had rallies to support the politician. The reason for this is because of his party. While he's running as a Republican, Ron Paul falls more in line with Libertarian beliefs than those of the GOP, meaning he really doesn't want to be all up in your business.

Paul has talked to G4 a few times, discussing his stance on technology, the internet, and video games. Paul that he is a firm believer in the first amendment, and that he believes that passing laws that censor games would go against . His stance is one of the most sensible, and fits in line with recent court rulings that have lumped games in with other forms of art when it comes to first amendment protection.

Well, that's all of the big information we found while digging through countless interviews, quotes, campaign ads, and transcriptions. Odds are there's some stuff we missed--the internet is a really big place, after all--so if you find something just post it below for everyone to see and help spread that sweet, sweet information around. Or get angry and assume that we intentionally left it out for political reasons or because we have an agenda and call us names, if you'd rather do that. That's fine, too.

Disclaimer: The next page lists the gaming politics of other notable Republican candidates from the 2012 primaries...

114 comments

  • vent - November 2, 2012 6:44 a.m.

    Gary Johnson is not a serious candidate, and Ron Paul isn't even running. Get a clue.
  • KA87 - November 2, 2012 6:15 a.m.

    I just noticed this because of all of the nasty political comments, but if video games make you a murder or lazy, then I have to wonder what politcs did to all of those crazies that posted those political comments.
  • RonnyLive19881 - November 1, 2012 4:08 p.m.

    No love for Gary Johnson? Man...
  • Aarononymous - November 1, 2012 3:24 p.m.

    Old article is old. Didn't even bother to delete the now-irrelevant primary candidates (including Ron Paul), or add sections on the slightly-less-irrelevant third party candidates like Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.
  • Cwf2008 - November 1, 2012 11:50 p.m.

    It's new, and they deliberately put in those candidates just so we could see their stance on games. Obviously you can't read.
  • kyle94 - November 2, 2012 7:21 p.m.

    This is an old article originally written back during the Republican primaries. Just look at the comments originally written 8 months ago.
  • Billiam101 - November 1, 2012 3:10 p.m.

    So why didn't you Gary Johnson? Not that I support the man, I just like to see equality in representation of the candidates.
  • Billiam101 - November 1, 2012 3:11 p.m.

    *why didn't you do
  • ericmatrix1 - November 1, 2012 3:10 p.m.

    Okay it is an honorable and worthy cause to get ppl (kids) to play less video games and Adults and kids alike to stop spending as much time and money on them. But one must also take into consideration how much Gaming and Entertainment possitively affect our Economy. And is that not one of the biggest sociopolitical issues of our day? I say, make it MANDATORY for people to buy and play games, and do it IN school so that kids will be more interested. Give incentives for doing good work. If you get a certain grade on the test, you get to play the game during the day at some point. kids will be more involved, make better grades, get better jobs, become better politicians, and help the economy. BOOM. Eric for President. :D lol
  • TheNobleRobot - November 1, 2012 2:58 p.m.

    Forgive me for saying, but even as an avid gamer, I'll vote for someone who I agree with on actual issues like tax policy and marriage equality before giving half a shit about how they feel about gaming. It's not the 90s anymore, no one is trying to ban or censor video games. The president's policies have as much impact on video games as they have on books and television. Imagine asking the candidates about their views on the movies. Yeah, it sounds exactly as stupid.
  • 7-D - November 1, 2012 2:02 p.m.

    I love games as much as any of you, but to be honest I think a few less platinum trophies and a few more books would do wonders for a lot of kids out there.
  • Thedigitalg - November 1, 2012 1:26 p.m.

    Vote Obama, Americans! You are a long way from the beauty of European-style government, but at least he's taking you in the right direction! Just don't join an exclusive club like the EU and you'll be good.
  • Bansheebot - November 1, 2012 1:07 p.m.

    I can't wait until 50 years from now when people will realize that the Vyleent Vid-ja Games didn't turn every person whoever so much as picked up a gameboy into a murdering sociopath. They'll probably be too busy fighting against the society ruining aspects of robotic A.I. pets.
  • winner2 - November 1, 2012 1:01 p.m.

    Oh, politics? Sorry gonna go this other way now...
  • PevMaster - February 28, 2012 7:50 a.m.

    Despite being a Republican (can't stand the left-wing commies in England and Australia) I'd vote for Obama this time. The others all seem like cunts.
  • profile0000 - February 28, 2012 12:02 p.m.

    Well, you need to stand out in a Primary election, I suppose. The best way to do that would be, in theory, acting like a insane cunt. That's how American politics generally work: Fight for personal ideology in Primaries, fight for party ideology in the General election, and then do basically what the last guy did once you become President. Isn't it wonderful?
  • wheresmymonkey - November 2, 2012 3:09 a.m.

    Hey we're not commies. We're socialist's there a difference. If the reports coming out of the states about the crazy shite the republicans want to do with the rights are women are true. I'm happy to ive in the UK. Sounds like the USA is on the virge of becmnog the monster it rebelled against in the first place. Land of the free.. unless you're a women,or poor, or not a christian, or an immegrant. Unlike the UK where people are free to live and worship how they want, the poor are given support and women are allowed to do whatever they want tiwth their own bodies. Welcome to Britain. we're now more american than america.
  • ThatFanInThePeacoat - February 27, 2012 10:39 p.m.

    Pssst. Nobody mention the Meadow Mountain Massacre to Romney. It's so cute that he thinks violence didn't exist before videogames and movies. Oh crap here he comes. *Cough* *Cough* Hey Mr. Romney, nice weather we're having today, right?
  • ThatFanInThePeacoat - February 27, 2012 10:40 p.m.

    Whoops I mean Mountain Meadows.
  • db1331 - November 1, 2012 12:53 p.m.

    I read that as "Mountain Dew Massacre." I was like, "WTF where was I during that?!"

Showing 1-20 of 114 comments

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