November 25th, 2007
07:07 AM ET
11 years ago

Republicans rip Romney on abortion

Thompson said Romney "was one of the most adamant pro-choice advocates that I had ever seen."

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Two Republican presidential candidates slammed rival Mitt Romney's record on abortion Saturday, claiming Romney cannot be trusted on the issue because of his past support for abortion rights.

The attacks, some of the most pointed to date from his Republican opponents Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee, come one week after Romney's campaign sent out a mailer in South Carolina calling him "the only major presidential candidate who supports the Republican party's pro-life platform: a constitutional amendment banning abortion nationwide."

The mail piece touts Romney as "the Governor who sided with life … every single time," referring specifically to legislation Romney supported while in office in Massachusetts.

Thompson, the former Tennessee senator who opposes an abortion amendment and says the issue should be decided by individual states, grinned when asked about the mail piece and said that before Romney decided to run for president, he "was one of the most adamant pro-choice advocates that I had ever seen."

"Governor Romney is saying a lot of things that I'm saying now," Thompson told CNN after a campaign stop in Summerville. "We're saying some of the same things. The only difference is that he was saying diametrically opposing things all his career."

Thompson, who picked up the endorsement of the National Right to Life Committee earlier this month, said that when voters consider Romney, they will have to decide "where he'll be tomorrow when the strong winds blow and when the strong pressure comes.'"

Huckabee also dismissed Romney's credentials on the issue and noted that he too supports a constitutional amendment banning abortions.

"When Mitt was out there on the other side of the issue and he was pro-abortion, I was marching the streets of Little Rock and passing a constitutional amendment in my state," Huckabee said while campaigning at a college football game in Columbia.

"Where Mitt comes up with that, I have no idea. You'll have to ask him how he can manufacture such ideas."

Romney spokesman Will Holley responded to the criticisms, saying that "Governor Romney is proudly pro-life and his record as Governor reflects that."

"Whether it was siding with life every single time an issue crossed his desk as Governor or his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment, Governor Romney has demonstrated his commitment to strengthening American families," Holley said.

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- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Fred Thompson • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney • Race to '08 • South Carolina
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Jim in Orlando, FL

    " .....after Romney's campaign sent out a mailer in South Carolina calling him "the only presidential candidate who supports the Republican party's pro-life platform: a constitutional amendment banning abortion nationwide."

    I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Conservative, and think Romney a good man. But to take a position such as this, which has no chance in Hades of ever coming to pass, is political cowardice. His past actions speak louder than his current words. There are candidates with better political credibility on both sides.

    November 24, 2007 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  2. Gordo - Flintridge, CA

    Romney has more faces than the town clock. He has switched his position 180 degrees on abortion, gay rights, hate legislation, taxation and more.

    Does he think the voters are stupid and won't notice?

    November 24, 2007 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  3. Danny Beaulieu, Gainesville, FL

    When are people going to realize that the debate should not be whether or not abortion should be illegal, but rather how we can curtail the desire for abortion in the first place? It's absolutely ridiculous to choose a side of the aisle and rally for one side of the law or the other. Instead, we should focus our efforts on reducing teenage pregnancies via education, counseling, and contraceptives.

    November 24, 2007 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  4. Cheryl Fontaine - Lake Stevens, WA

    Just like a republican – "wait till they grow up and then kill them." It absolutely boggles the mind how these hypocritical, two-faced, buffoons actually can think they're Christians.

    November 24, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  5. E. C., Houston, Texas

    Hard to believe that Romney would make such an adament pro-life statement after being a pro-choice advocate...wonder why the change? Sometimes individuals do have a 'change of heart and conscience....' Romney is a good man...and so is Thompson. Anyone But Hillary, 2008!

    November 24, 2007 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  6. Martina Merrigan Greenfield, MA

    Romney is the biggest political flip-flopper running for President. He will change positions at a moments notice. He was Pro-life when he ran against Kennedy and when he ran against Shannon O'Brien for Governor of Massachusetts. Now he is the most opposed to abortion? Give me a break...flip–flop-flip-flop. More to come on this guy and his willingness to sell his soul for votes.....drop out now!

    November 24, 2007 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  7. Janice, Great Falls Montana

    I had an abortion in colledge and it is my biggest regret, the fact that Mr. Mitt Romney cares about women and babies warms my heart.
    But like Global warming, and evolition Liberals only want people to be educated on one side of the issue, if they were so sure their answers are right they would welcome both sides being put forward but they know the facts don't make their case.

    November 24, 2007 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Delete comment if you can--pro-choice was the the position-not pro-life as was comment posted

    November 24, 2007 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  9. Charles, NY

    Romney is demonstrably disingenuous on this issue and many others. That said, Fred Thompson is merely trying to revive an undoubtedly dying (or dead) campaign. These are his final throes.

    November 24, 2007 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  10. Joan Withtendertits

    Who's been beating that slob with a heavy, jagged ugly stick? Sure, print the stories about Thompson, but keep that savaged mug of his out of sight. Look at him, enough to puke over.

    November 24, 2007 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  11. Jim in Orlando, FL

    Just like a republican – "wait till they grow up and then kill them." It absolutely boggles the mind how these hypocritical, two-faced, buffoons actually can think they're Christians.

    Posted By Cheryl Fontaine – Lake Stevens, WA : November 24, 2007 9:49 pm

    Stay a Democrat Cheryl. Please, I beg you.

    C'mon, my fellow Republicans. let's go raise them so we can kill them. BTW, I did my service for 7 years in the 70's, and one of my son's did two tours in Iraq 2. I respect many liberals, but you Cheryl are a complete imbecile.

    November 24, 2007 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  12. Aaron, Gladstone, Mo

    Romney has flip-flopped, pardon me, re-evaluated his stance, on abortion. Thompson has shown as a lobbyist that he would support whomever pays him at the time and somehow won the endorsement of the National Right to Life organization. Giuliani receives an endorsement from Pat Robertson. Meanwhile, a man whose record as a conservative was pretty clear, Sam Brownback, dropped out of the race because of a lack of support (vocal and monetary) from these very constituencies. Wow. Is the need for "electability" so important that the planks of the platform are nothing more than hollow words to shout at a convention?

    November 24, 2007 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  13. Charles, NY

    Gordo asked "Does he think the voters are stupid and won't notice?" Well, Gordo, 30% of the caucus voters in Iowa and primary voters in New Hampshire aren't noticing, or don't care (I'll leave you to make a judgement about their intelligence). And don't think that this applies only to Republicans. Over 40% of Democratic voters nationwide haven't withdrawn support from the frontrunner (whose name I don't need to repeat), despite her blatantly obvious prevarications.

    November 24, 2007 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  14. Jason, Cola, SC

    That this is actually an issue that can make or break a candidate is why I do not vote Republican. When will the public realize that they would be better off not voting at all if they are going to simply vote based on perceived values than on issues that matter?

    November 24, 2007 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  15. Jack Heim, Fort Worth, TX

    I think we should clarify the phraseology here. It's "Pro Life" or "Pro Abortion". Let's not whitewash the true intent here by calling it "Pro Choice". Wording like Pro Choice should be used in a fast food commercial.

    November 24, 2007 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  16. Phil Dozer, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

    It absolutely astounds me that Romney has gone as far as he already has politically.

    He did *nothing* while here in Massachusetts. Sure, he was successful in business but in the public sector, he was a failure.

    November 24, 2007 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  17. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR

    Both Thompson and Huck are striking at a top tier candidate, from their second tier position. Who cares when Romney made the switch? At least he made it, and most pro-life people didn't start out that way and made the decision to change at some crossroad in their life. Huck and Fred just don't have anything better to strike at.

    November 24, 2007 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  18. Ryan, Provo, UT

    Its a shame Romney didn't stay the moderate that he was. He might have made a pretty strong candidate.

    November 24, 2007 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  19. tony ward Hoschton,GA.

    Thompson is no fan of the constitution. He is a new world order pice of trash.RON PAUL. Take off that beard thompson come on out of the closet.

    November 24, 2007 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  20. TC, Cincinnati, OH

    Republicans must stop pandering to religious zealots and return to the center. It's self-defeating to listen to a bunch of people who are really just waitng with baited breath for the end time anyway. Republicans, look to Australia and repent!

    November 24, 2007 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  21. Jeff Jones, Las Cruces, NM

    Romney is as much a "flip-flopper" in 2007 as John Kerry was in 2004. His positions smack of political expediency and a desire to paint an unreal image of himself. Come on, the guy was governor of Massachusetts. You can't be governor of the bluest state in the nation without being a serious social liberal. Any left or right coast Republican may get away with fiscal conservatism, but when it comes to tackling the much more dire issue of murdering the unborn, they are treading in the enemies territory. The bottom line is that the Republican party better get their act together in a big way...or come 2009 this is liable to be "Clinton" country.

    November 24, 2007 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  22. Andrew, London, Ontario

    I think people understand that when you swim in liberal waters there are limits on how conservative you can be. Mitt's right on the issue now.

    These two are just trying to breathe life into their hopeless candidacies. Huckabee wants a win in Iowa, Thompson a win in South Carolina. Even if they got those wins- which they won't- they'd never be able to challenge Rudy.

    Social conservatives should rally behind Mitt, the only candidate with a credible chance of winning the Republican nomination.

    November 24, 2007 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  23. Ron, Phoenix AZ

    This really just demonstrates how firm Romney is in his convictions. Romney has NEVER SUPPORTED the pro-choice platform. When politicians say "just look at his record" without citing real evidence, it's because they know we are too lazy to look up "their record", so the politician can make up stories (as Fred Thompson just did) to make other candidates look falsely bad.

    Heck, Romney supports a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT against abortion, while Thompson beleives the states should decide. That statement clearly demonstrates which candidate is taking the stronger stance on this topic. Romney may not have my vote yet, but the more he talks, the more I'm listening.

    November 25, 2007 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  24. Walt, Belton, TX

    Dear Danny Beaulieu,

    You are a sage among men. I applaud your thought processes and your foresight. This attitude of you're either with me or against me is stupid and fostered by ignorance. God bless you!

    November 25, 2007 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  25. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    The Repellicans' continued fixation on opposition to abortion confirms their disconnect from the solid majority of the American public, and a disturbing contempt for the judicial doctrine of stare decisis, by urging abandonment of the settled rule of law on women's privacy and control of their medical decisions. Their astounding arrogance in asserting standing for unborn children wholly within and dependent upon the mother is further evidence of their lack of respect for uniquely individual rights. Their pandering to the religious tyranny of yesteryear is proof of their unfitness to govern.

    November 25, 2007 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
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