Presidential Election: Where Do Obama, Romney Stand On Issues Important To Young Voters?

'Governor Romney's message truly is one of getting people back to work in good-paying jobs,' says Romney traveling press secretary Andrea Saul.

You’ve seen hundreds (or if you live in a swing state, thousands) of commercials, watched the debates, argued with your parents at the dinner table and likely gotten more phone calls about Tuesday’s presidential election than you ever imagined.

Candidates President Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney have talked themselves hoarse over the past few weeks trying to close the deal with voters. But as you prepare to vote, in case you need a reminder, MTV’s Power of 12 is here with a primer on where the two men stand on the issues most important 
 to the 45 million young (18-29) voters whose participation could make a huge difference in Tuesday’s contest.

Over the past year told us you’ve told us you’re anxious about paying for college,health care, 
 the national debt, women’s reproductive rights 
 and gay marriage.

Here are the candidates’ public stances on some of those issues:

Paying off college debt:

Obama: During MTV’s “Ask Obama Live” 
 special, the president, who has increased federal aid through Pell Grants during his first term, told viewers, “An investment in a college education still pays off.” (An invitation to sit down with MTV was also extended to Gov. Romney.) Noting that the unemployment rate among college graduates is half compared to those without a degree, Obama said he’s also kept the interest rates on student loans from doubling and made it so students never have to spend more than 10 percent of their income on loan payments. Future plans include rewarding schools that keep tuition low, while cutting off federal aid for those that are loading students up with debt. The administration has also set up “Know Before You Owe,” a program that makes it mandatory to tell students how much their education will cost and how much they will owe.

Romney: The former governor’s traveling press secretary told MTV News that Romney’s plans to address student loan concerns is tied to helping the overall economy grow. “Helping on the student-loan front is not much help if you don’t have an income,” said Andrea Saul. “His plan is to have a vibrant economy, get people back to work [and] we’re going to lower tax rates. Young people are the first to tell you, ones that do have a job, that when they look at their first paycheck they didn’t realize how much they were going to have to give away to the government.”

Women’s reproductive rights:

Obama: The president supports access to abortion and his Affordable Health Care Act requires contraceptives to be available for free to women enrolled in workplace health plans. Obama told MTV viewers that, “I believe women should be able to make their own healthcare decisions,” noting that contraceptive care is a critical health and economic issue.

Romney: Though he previously supported it, Romney now opposes access to abortion and has said he believes Roe. v. Wade should be reversed by a Supreme Court ruling. He would also end federal aid to Planned Parenthood.

Gay marriage:

Obama: “I’ve been very clear about my belief that same-sex couple have to be treated before the eyes of the law the same way as heterosexual couples,” Obama told MTV News 
. “I think that’s the right thing to do. It’s based on my personal experience, seeing loving couples who are committed to each other, raising kids and are just outstanding people … I was supportive of civil unions, but they taught me, if you’re using different words, if you’re somehow singling them out, they don’t feel true equality.” He is opposed to federal legislation legalizing gay marriage and prefers to have the states work out a solution and has stated his opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act.

Romney: Opposed legal recognition of same-sex marriage and would seek a constitutional amendment banning it. He also opposes civil unions but said states should decide what rights and benefits should be allowed under those unions. Would not try to reverse Obama’s repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

They’ve made their final arguments, now it’s your turn to decide by going out and voting on Tuesday!

With the election one day away, stick with MTV’s Power of 12 throughout Tuesday’s voting for results, analysis and reports from Chicago, Boston and New York on election night.

Often guilty, never convicted. Serving 15 years to life at MTV News.