Romney Abortion Comment-Brownback Attacks - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Romney Abortion Comment-Brownback Attacks
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Here are some further thoughts on the Romney abortion comment which one of his opponents is already using in the post-debate spin wars. I and other commentators here and here have commented on Romney's answer that he made a mistake running on a pro-choice platform in 2002 when he deeply opposed abortion, saying this was "just wrong." Senator Sam Brownback, who of course is responsible for the ad questioning Romney's abortion credentials which was the subject of an earlier debate question, lost no time in putting out a press release saying that Romney "created even more confusion about his abortion views by admitting that he made a political calculation to run as a pro-choice candidate in Massachusetts despite being 'deeply opposed' to abortion." The press release goes on as follows: "' If Mitt Romney says he was deeply opposed to abortion, why didn't he fight for his convictions when he ran for office in Massachusetts?', said Rob Wasinger, national campaign manager of Brownback for President. 'It seems that Mitt Romney's views on abortion are not about protecting the unborn but about protecting his political career. What kind of leader is deeply opposed to something but embraces policies that directly contradict that conviction?'"
 
Romney's spokesman Kevin Madden explains Romney's answer as follows: "The Governor was personally pro-life but took what was effectively a pro-choice position during his 2002 campaign. The benefit of experience in public office helped change his view about the policies involved. The stem-cell debate convinced him that the Roe v. Wade mentality had cheapened life to the degree that it required him to act on public policies that would defend the sanctity of life." Madden also criticized the Brownback campaign, saying " One of the greatest attributes of the pro-life movement is its dedication to changing minds and encouraging conversions toward the pro-life position. Campaigns that think only to attack first have lost sight of that fact."
 
So in a nutshell, Brownback is saying Romney was engaged in political calculation in 2002, feigning pro-choice views when he was really pro-life. Romney is saying he was always pro-life personally but regrets not making the leap to advocating a pro-life public policy/legal position sooner.
 
Who wins this duel? I think any candidate not involved in this back and forth. I can imagine that Romney would have preferred to avoid revisiting this whole issue the week before the Ames straw poll. However, it is possible the Brownback attacks will turn off Iowa voters. Can Romney turn this to his advantage by selling himself to social conservatives as just the type of politician pro-lifers take pride in converting to their cause? We'll get a good answer on Saturday when the straw poll votes get tabulated.

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