Mitt Romney may have finally managed to wake the press up to his duplicity. This, of course, is the one thing he should have avoided doing for the next few weeks, but this wouldn’t be Mitt Romney if it weren’t a clumsy fail of an easy win. Coming off of his post-debate bounce, Romney should be focusing on selling himself to the center, not driving attention to his very radical positions on abortion and women’s health.
As I wrote Wednesday morning, Mitt Romney told the Des Moines Register “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” Yes, that’s a tortured way of saying he was not going to pursue any anti-choice legislation that he was “familiar with”. No one asked him how he could be familiar with legislation when he hasn’t introduced himself to his tax plan yet, but no matter. He was selling himself as not a radical on abortion.
Yet, Romney has also previously promised to pass the Personhood Amendment that radically reduces even access to some forms of birth control and his running mate Paul Ryan was on board with “forcible rape” language.
Then, the Romney campaign scrambled to reassure conservatives that he had not really changed his positions. The press will surely soon get tired of being burned by reporting one thing only to have it suddenly not true two hours later. And who changes their position on something so rooted in principle as abortion within hours?
Someone who will do anything to win, that’s who. The Obama campaign is hitting back with a new ad, “The Real Mitt Romney.” Watch here:
The Obama campaign pointed out, “Just weeks before the election, Romney isn’t being honest with the American people about his severely conservative positions… Romney will say anything to win, even if it’s not true. Over the past few years, the real Mitt Romney has consistently committed to overturning Roe vs. Wade and denying women the right to choose… He can try to hide these far-right positions, but voters simply won’t be fooled when he cynically and dishonestly tells voters the exact opposite of what he’s run on.”
Sooner than we would have imagined, the press jumped on the Romney walk back bus. Here’s a roundup from today, in which Romney is outed for his radical positions no matter what he said to the Des Moines Register:
Associated Press: “A day after Mitt Romney downplayed his plans to fight abortion, social conservatives on Wednesday offered the Republican presidential nominee a not-so-subtle reminder of his pledge to do ‘everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America.'”
New York Times: “Perhaps Mr. Romney just meant he did not know of any specific bills that would restrict abortion. But he might want to check in with his running mate, Paul Ryan, who co-sponsored the ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,’ and helped introduced the term ‘forcible rape’ into the national conversation.”
Politico: “For the third time in a week, Mitt Romney has taken a prominent U-turn on something that’s supposed to be a matter of fundamental principles.”
Talking Points Memo: “Perkins said the Romney campaign called him soon after Romney’s remarks were published by the Des Moines Register and assured him it didn’t represent a shift by Romney from his support for pro-life issues.”
Huffington Post: “‘I have looked him in the eye and talked about this issue, [and] I absolutely believe in my heart and know that he is personally committed to a pro-life agenda as president,’ [Governor Chris] Christie said. ‘If you trust me on this issue … I know what his agenda is. I know what he believes. I know that he stands for a strong pro-life agenda.'”
NBC: Romney vows to be ‘a pro-life president’ after newspaper interview
Associated Press: Conservatives remind Romney of abortion pledge
LA Times: Romney says abortion stance unchanged, that he remains ‘pro-life’
Washington Post: Romney: ‘I’ll be a pro-life president’
Columbus Dispatch: Romney says he will be pro-life president
Des Moines Register: Decoding Mitt Romney’s stance on abortion
ABC: Ryan Denies Romney’s Position on Abortion Has Changed
NBC: Jindal, McDonnell defend Romney’s abortion remarks
New York Times: Romney’s Confusing Abortion Comment
LA Times: Romney’s latest fudge on his abortion ‘agenda’
NPR: Romney’s Remarks On Abortion Cause Stir
Slate: Romney’s Abortion “Agenda”
Talking Points Memo: Anti-Abortion Activists Call Romney’s New Comments A Gaffe, Not A Change Of Heart
If a voter was on the Internet Wednesday, they are now thinking about Romney and abortion and what he really stands for. This is not what Romney should be shooting for weeks before the election, especially given his lagging polls with women.
Romney and Ryan both have expressed support for making abortion illegal even in the case of rape, incest and the life of the mother. Romney has also expressed shock at that same position being attached to him, looking behind him for the Other Mitt.
Just like his secret tax plan, Romney’s secret abortion stance is something he wants us to trust him with. Some evangelicals are buying that from him, but anyone who has studied his record wouldn’t be so quick to take him at his word anymore.
Now if only the press would stop calling being anti-women’s lives “pro-life”, we might really be making some progress here.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.