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Oct 12 2012

Romney Flips on Abortion. Again.

The Mitt Romney etch-a-sketch tour continues, but he’s having to shake that thing even more often these days than in the past. On abortion, everyone knows by now that when he was running against Ted Kennedy for the Senate, he declared himself pro-choice and told a debate audience “you will never hear me waver on that.” When running for president, he said that he would happily sign a personhood amendment that would ban not only abortion but many forms of birth control as well. So here he was trying to tack back to the center in Iowa recently:

Mitt Romney today said no abortion legislation is part of his agenda, but he would prohibit federally-funded international nonprofits from providing abortions in other countries.

“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” the GOP presidential candidate told The Des Moines Register’s editorial board during a meeting today before his campaign rally at a Van Meter farm.

This, of course, caused the religious right base to wonder, quite reasonably, whether he was really going to follow through on his second set of promises. Was this a third position? Not to worry. His campaign very quickly signaled to them that, while it may not be on his “agenda” he would gladly sign any anti-choice bills that are passed:

When I asked Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul to clarify what Romney had meant there (since the Huffington Post at least is taking it as a position that “could put [Romney] at odds with congressional Republicans who have made limiting abortion central to their messages”), she e-mailed, “Governor Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.”

As always, Romney is playing games instead of just saying what he means. Of course, at this point he’s changed positions so many times that he may not have any idea what he means. Or more to the point, he doesn’t know what he means at any given moment until he sees who he is speaking to.

22 comments

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  1. 1
    NitricAcid

    Mitt Romney today said no abortion legislation is part of his agenda. (When speaking to the nation at large.)

    Mitt Romney today said “no abortion” legislation is part of his agenda. (When speaking to the religious right.)

  2. 2
    raven

    I’ve given up trying to figure out Romney/Ryan’s positions on anything.

    They are vague and ever changing.

    The real question is; how badly will they wreck the country and how many decades will it take to recover?

    Bush wasn’t even trying and set us back by a lost generation. I don’t see that Romney/Ryan even care how much damage they do.

  3. 3
    Michael Heath

    The pattern I see emerging over the past couple of weeks is that Mr. Romney is taking centrist positions on national network outlets while simultaneously walking those statements back where partisans hang-out, both on the left and the right. This doesn’t appear to be a reaction to this comments but instead part of a previously designed process.

    This hypothesis explains moderate Romney in last week’s debate and conservative Romney immediately thereafter on Fox, Huffington Post, or MSNBC (where his spokespeople speak for him). And it appears his family is involved as well. For example, Mrs. Romney and one of the kids claiming they’ve been fighting with the heads of his campaign teams to let the “real Mitt” out which is what happened at the debates, and yet “conservative Mitt” or his delegates were walking back of much of his debate comments in partisan media venues.

    So there’s some nuance there we shouldn’t ignore, especially given his reluctance to appear on mainstream media outlets during the primary which argues this approach was planned in advance of the start of the primary season since ‘moderate Mitt’ wasn’t to be revealed yet. If I’m correct on this being a designed plan, it reveals his flipping is far more of a character failure than previously imagined. That he’s not flipping out of mere reactive convenience, but instead planned mendaciousness which has him not merely flipping when the general election arrives, but instead still flipping simultaneously back and forth during the general given the type of media outlet broadcasting news about his campaign.

  4. 4
    Quodlibet

    I was pleased with Joe Biden’s response last night to Ms Radditz’s question about the candidates’ personal views on abortion: he keeps his personal beliefs (life begins at conception) out of public policy-making (he is pro-choice because he believes that women should have absolute control over their own bodies). He came across as rational and logical on that issue.

  5. 5
    bbgunn

    I suspect we’ll be seeing a surge of insurance claims for carpal tunnel and elbow tendonitis from R&R’s campaign staff from all that etch-a-sketchin’ they have to do on a daily basis.

  6. 6
    tubi

    #4

    I was pleased with Joe Biden’s response last night to Ms Radditz’s question about the candidates’ personal views on abortion: he keeps his personal beliefs (life begins at conception) out of public policy-making (he is pro-choice because he believes that women should have absolute control over their own bodies). He came across as rational and logical on that issue.

    I thought that was OK, too, but I really wish he had pounced on Ryan’s answer more. Ryan made himself out to have such strong beliefs that abortion the taking of a life, or “bean,” if you will, but that a Romney/Ryan position would permit exceptions in the case of rape, incest, mother’s health. I wish Biden had said something like, “Oh, so killing a bean is acceptable under certain circumstances? Perhaps your faith isn’t as strong as you say it is…”

    I was secreting that hard, but it didn’t happen.

  7. 7
    lorn

    Norquest was quoted as saying that the only requirement for president was ‘having enough digits to hold a pen’. For him the president is s functionary put into office, at great expense, to sign legislation that the radical right, co-written by big business, pushes forward. The ability to gracefully and willingly accept any posture required, and ability to do so without retaining any memory of the change, totally unlike a real boy, makes him highly adapted to the role of enthusiastic figurehead and rubber stamp. A marionette completely without conscience, shame or regret because the memory of there ever being a choice is erased as soon as the choice is made.

  8. 8
    holytape

    I can understand why it is hard to debate Romney. How can you have a debate with a person who whole heartedly agrees with every position on every topic ever conceived. Ask him what color the sky is and he’ll answer, “Yes, I agree with you.”

  9. 9
    Ichthyic

    “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,”

    sorry, but this is absolutely correct.

    -there is no legislation regarding ABORTION on his slate… legislation regarding ‘personhood’ OTOH.

    -what’s more, the LEGISLATION isn’t going to be the issue. You heard Ryan in the debate? yeah, this is an issue of removing judicial obstacles to overturning Roe V Wade. You don’t need to pass legislation to nominate a judge.

  10. 10
    Gregory in Seattle

    If you want to know Romney’s position on any given issue, look at the group he last addressed. If you want to know how his positions will be changing, look at who he is addressing next.

    Sadly, it really is that simple.

  11. 11
    jnorris

    In the next presidential debate, Obama should insist that the rMoney campaign spokesperson take the podium instead of the governor. That way Obama will get a consistent and final answer and not rMoney’s flip-of-the-Day.

  12. 12
    zmidponk

    Gregory in Seattle:

    If you want to know Romney’s position on any given issue, look at the group he last addressed. If you want to know how his positions will be changing, look at who he is addressing next.

    From a UK point of view, this means Romney’s like Tony Blair, our ex-Prime Minister, but without the deviousness and slickness required to avoid making that readily apparent.

  13. 13
    Ichthyic

    sadly, I’m sure Mittens IS devious enough.

    it’s simply become the case he no longer HAS to be.

  14. 14
    kenbo

    Maybe someone needs to ask Romney to explain his spokesperson’s statements that are trying to clarify his statements…and why these spokespersons keep contradicting him after he makes a statement.

  15. 15
    cry4turtles

    Romney would tell you that your grandma is a virgin. If that’s what you want to hear.

  16. 16
    dogmeat

    The unfortunate thing is, if Romney does win, which is disturbingly possible despite his lack of substance, hideous policy positions (when he does actually provide something approaching substance), and general lack of anything approaching a viable “presidential” character, the damage that could be done is rather significant in both the short and long term. First, his policies are likely to make the economic situation far worse, make the budget situation even more upside down, and lead to even more potential for drastic cuts in social safety net programs. Add to that his policies will likely make climate change models obsolete as things become far worse than the worst case scenarios we currently see. In addition, on the political side of things, we’ll likely hear decades of how Obama’s recession nearly destroyed America but St. Mitt saved us. That is likely to lead to an even greater shift to the right, even more disastrous policies, and even greater divisions within our country.

    Frankly, as far as I can see, if the Republicans win, they’ll justify all of the fact free politicking they’ve been doing for the better part of the last decade and drive things even further into the lunatic fringe. If they fail, we might see the collapse of the religious right and corporate right lunatic alliance and potentially see a reform of the party into something worthy of actual governance.

  17. 17
    iangould

    “Abortions for some! Tiny American flags for others!”

  18. 18
    Ichthyic

    If they fail, we might see the collapse of the religious right and corporate right lunatic alliance and potentially see a reform of the party into something worthy of actual governance.

    maybe.

    or maybe it will get even more insane… like when you back a cat into a corner.

  19. 19
    John Hinkle

    Governor Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.

    So hypothetically, if a bill came out of Congress with steep cuts to defense and new abortion restrictions, would Romney sign it?

  20. 20
    sharonb

    Unfortunately, I think Michael Heath has nailed it. The flip-flops are a feature not a bug. He is running a campaign now that has Multiple Personality Disorder.

    The Democrats need to find a way to expose this, publicly call him out on it; force him to commit to one course or the other, not both; and, expose him for the feckless bastard he is.

  21. 21
    sharonb

    Sorry, that was inelegantly stated.

    I did not mean to call him a “feckless bastard.” I meant to call him a “feckless rat-bastard.”

  22. 22
    skeptifem

    such a strategy is going to backfire during a town hall style presidential debate. You can bullshit people this way only in very specific circumstances.

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