It’s early, but Mitt Romney still seems intent on repeating his mistaken 2008 handling of the abortion issue. Here he was today on “Imus in the Morning”:
DON IMUS: Talking with Mitt Romney here on the “Imus in the Morning” program. This book is called No Apology in the Case for America’s Greatness. Now, when you changed your mind abortion and went from pro choice, I guess, to pro-life, what — walk me through the, what caused that.
MITT ROMNEY: Well, you know, I never really called myself pro-choice, but I did say when I was running for governor that I would keep the law as it was.
There are lots of examples of Romney calling himself either “pro-choice” or “effectively pro-choice,” but the simplest example came from his exchange with Sen. Sam Brownback at the 2007 GOP Iowa straw poll debate.
ROMNEY: Look, I was pro-choice. I am pro-life. You can go back to YouTube and look at what I said in 1994. I never said I was pro-choice, but my position was effectively pro-choice. I changed my position. And I get tired of people that are holier-than-thou because they’ve been pro-life longer than I have.
My most complete treatment of Romney’s abortion zig-zagging appeared in this review of Hugh Hewitt’s book. But Romney’s problem has never really been that he changed his mind. It has been the fact that he can’t resist insulting people’s intelligence about his past record when discussing his current position. This is a perfect political climate for Romney to downplay abortion and run as an economic problem-solver. But if he continues to pretend he was never pro-choice or play word games about his previous stance, abortion will plague his candidacy again in 2012.
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