October 11th, 2012
09:54 AM ET
2 years ago

Priebus defends Romney over abortion comments

(CNN) - The Republican National Committee chairman took to Mitt Romney's defense Thursday, saying the GOP presidential nominee has been unwavering on his position about abortion this cycle.

"I see the flap over this Des Moines Register question. But… there's nothing there there," Reince Priebus said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."

Tune to CNN for Thursday's vice presidential debate coverage starting at 7 p.m. ET on CNN TV, CNN.com and via CNN's apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. Web users can become video editors with a new clip-and-share feature that allows them to share favorite debate moments on Facebook and Twitter.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

Democrats argued Romney was being contradictory when he said in an interview Tuesday with the Des Moines Register that "there's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda."

Romney's response came after being asked by the newspaper's editorial board if he "intends to pursue any legislation specifically regarding abortion."

Later in the same interview he said he would reinstate by executive order the Mexico City policy that blocks the use of U.S. foreign aid dollars to carry out abortion in other countries.

And during the primary campaign, Romney maintained he would support efforts to remove funding for Planned Parenthood, a women's health clinic that provides abortion services. Several House Republicans have introduced legislation that would strip funding from the group.

On Wednesday, Romney reiterated his pledge, saying he supported removing the group's funding through the federal budget, which must be passed by Congress.

"I think I've said time and time again that I'm a pro-life candidate and I'll be a pro-life president," he said. "The actions I'll take immediately is to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget."

Priebus on Thursday pointed to Romney's former statements and said nothing has changed in the Republican nominee's position on abortion.

"The fact of the matter is is that Mitt Romney has been absolutely, 100% consistent on this issue, that he's pro-life," Priebus said.

As for why Romney said he was not aware of specific legislation he would pursue as president, Priebus said Romney was talking about current bills in Congress.

"What he's referring to is whether or not there were piles of legislation in the Congress, what specific bills in the Congress in regards to abortion, are you going to be pushing over the next four years," he said.

O'Brien, however, pressed back, saying the question in the Des Moines Register editorial board did not mention current Congressional bills.

In response, Priebus said, "I'm going to keep giving you the same–It isn't a contradiction because he's sitting there in front of the Des Moines Register editorial board. They're talking about specific legislation in Congress. You know what, he is going to have a piece of legislation in his budget that says there isn't going to be taxpayer money used for abortions."

– CNN's Rachel Streitfeld and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.


Filed under: 2012 • Abortion • Mitt Romney • Reince Priebus
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Ozzie

    So hard to defend or debate a liar.

    October 11, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. ST

    @Hope for Change

    It is very clear CNN is in the tank for Obama.

    But, they will see how he burns his media friends with the Libya -gate.

    ----–
    Hello, take your Libya-gate to anywhere you wish to. Was there something like: "Iraq gate"? How many people died in Libya, and how many died in Iraq war without forgetting the money used there during the war!

    October 11, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. ghostriter

    Anthony, of course. It's always the media.

    Conservatives have a great ability to dissect democratic statements and infer meaning from sound bites, yet love to talk comments from their own without a bit of scrutiny.

    Why don't you flip back a few years to when Romney said he would always fight for a women's right to choose. Now he's completely 180 degrees in the opposite direction. The only media bias is that the media has found this wonderful tool called the interwebs by conservatives. It has all kinds of info, including videos of Romney and Friends being all over the place.

    October 11, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. myviewis

    Abortion stays legal with Romney but women and men will have to pay for their abortion. What is the problem????
    ........"there isn't going to be taxpayer money used for abortions"

    And our taxdollars will no longer go to pay for abortions in foreign countries. What is the problem with that?????
    ........."he would reinstate by executive order the Mexico City policy that blocks the use of U.S. foreign aid dollars to carry out abortion in other countries.

    Men and women can pay for their own abortions and college kids can stop spending money on partying, drinks so that they can pay for an abortion.

    October 11, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. myviewis

    Ozzie

    So hard to defend or debate a liar.
    -------------------------–

    If what you are saying is that the President of our country, Obama, could not debate a liar or defend than definitely Obama is the wrong president for our country. Obama should have been capable and able to defend and debate a liar but he couldn't.

    October 11, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Voice Crying In the Wilderness

    If the end justifies the means, who can blame Romney for lying. He lied through out the whole debate and got a post bebate bounce. He continues to lie and it's not hurting him. The shame is not only on Romney but also on the people who vote for him.

    October 11, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  7. myviewis

    Voice Crying In the Wilderness

    If the end justifies the means, who can blame Romney for lying. He lied through out the whole debate and got a post bebate bounce. He continues to lie and it's not hurting him. The shame is not only on Romney but also on the people who vote for him.
    ---------------------------

    People know Romney is not lying and Obama didn't confront Romney because Obama also knows Romney is not lying.

    October 11, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  8. robert jay

    Republicans are nuts – Against abortion – but would rather kill kids after they have tasted life in useless unfunded never ending / never winning wars – promote keeping gov noses out of peoples business – against abortion but be in your bedroom and in the rest of the worlds business – talk about caring but don't care about soldiers dying / living their lives as vegetables – no health care forthe needy – kids starving -old people starving – always have an answer but no answer – Whats the matter repugs – seems you can't even make up your minds consistently

    October 11, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  9. Facts don't Lie

    Just how many times can Mitt Romney make a statement then have his campaign come out and say "oh he didn't really mean that" and Americans are just supposed to that. So far though it has worked which just shows how fickle we can be but I think his luck is about to run out. And those talking about Romney NOT being a liar, well the president if you noticed has not called Mitt Romney a liar even though Diane Sawyer tried to get him to do that, BUT Newt Gingrich DID call Romney a liar and that will be on tape forever, right?

    October 11, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. smc

    Oh puh-lease let's do this! Let's bring up the Mexico City Policy. While you're at it Obama et al, let's talk about Born Alive act too.

    October 11, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. Martha in CF

    Priebus hasn't watched the past tapes of Romney talking in the reverse of what his recent stance is. Lame

    October 11, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. smc

    The majority of Americans understand the complexities of the abortion issue and can understand Romney's care in discussing and relate to the fluctuations in his comments over the years - they get that because most Americans are like that on this topic - even when they call themselves pro-choice or pro-life - the people who are so staunch that they are insensitive to the other side of the debate are in the very small minority.
    But Obama's voting record on abortion is so extreme, it would horrify most of the electorate. So let's go there - this should be very interesting to watch.

    October 11, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
1 2