UPDATE #2: Colorado Sen. Mark Udall was on NBC News’ “The Cycle” this afternoon to discuss Romney’s, uh, changes. Here’s the video:
UPDATE: FOX 31’s Eli Stokols reports as local Democrats open fire:
“The American women will not be fooled by a Mitt Romney who is trying to be everything to everyone at the end of this election,” said Colorado Congresswoman Diana DeGette, D-Denver, on a conference call Wednesday organized by the Obama campaign.
“Throughout this campaign, Mitt who describes himself as ‘severely conservative’, has come out and said he opposes all abortion and supports Personhood amendments,” DeGette continued. “Suddenly, in October, Mitt Romney says he knows of no legislation that would restrict abortion.
“We had nine pieces that would restrict a women’s right just last year. If those passed the House and the Senate and were sent on to a President Romney, we know he would sign them.”
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he doesn’t intend to pursue anti-abortion legislation if elected, a stance that threatens to alienate some core supporters just as he’s surging in national polls.
“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” Romney told The Des Moines Register’s editorial board yesterday before an event in the swing state of Iowa… [Pols emphasis]
While Romney’s comments may widen his appeal among independent female voters, they risk raising questions among other independents about where he stands on the issue and depressing turnout among anti-abortion Republicans who already had misgivings about his past positions.
The abortion remarks overshadowed Romney’s attempt to accelerate his campaign’s momentum coming out of his first debate with Obama and as the two candidates were making their pitches to voters in Ohio, a state that has voted for the winner in the past 12 presidential elections.
Now in case there’s any doubt in your mind about where Romney used to stand:
While seeking the Republican nomination, Romney vowed to limit abortion funding.
In September, he said he would appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that established a woman’s right to abortion.
“I hope to appoint justices to the Supreme Court that will follow the law and the constitution,” he said at the time on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It would be my preference that they reverse Roe v. Wade and therefore they return to the people and their elected representatives the decisions with regards to this important issue.”
ABC News goes back to 2007 for this unequivocal gem:
[O]n “Good Morning America,” Romney was asked by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos if he supports the Republican Party’s 2004 platform on abortion rights, which states, “We support a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make it clear that the 14th Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”
Romney replied, “You know, I do support the Republican platform, and I support that being part of the Republican platform [Pols emphasis] and I’m pro-life.”
CBS News adds:
In an interview with an Ohio TV station during the heat of the Republican primary in February, Romney said he was “in favor of a pro-life policy.” He noted that “the legislation that relates to abortion is something which is going to have to be approved by the Supreme Court,” a body to which he would appoint nominees to fill any vacancies if he is elected.
Mitt Romney could be in fresh Ken Buck-style trouble here, facing the classic dilemma of needing to moderate ahead of a general election, but still shackled to statements he made during the long Republican primary. There’s no clearer case of a candidate attempting to flip-flop than for Mitt Romney, after repeatedly affirming his anti-abortion credentials on the primary campaign trail, to suddenly declare in October that “there’s no legislation with regards to abortion that would become part of my agenda.” Either Romney lied then, or he’s lying now.
And it’s worse for Romney; flip-flopping in October is what the cynics expect him to do.
In a base-turnout election like this one, which is the smarter strategy? Enrage your base to attempt to court the center, or shore up the base you’re counting on to win the election?
Just like Rick Santorum warned of, Romney has made his choice.