June 13th, 2007
02:54 PM ET
12 years ago

McCain camp slams Romney on abortion stance

The McCain campaign attacked Romney's stance on abortion rights Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Arizona Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign issued a stinging attack on GOP presidential rival Mitt Romney's stance on abortion Wednesday, claiming a new YouTube video indicates the former Massachusetts governor supported maintaining abortion rights in his state six months after he opposed such rights.

Romney has said he started opposing abortion rights in November 2004 after a conversation with a stem-cell researcher made him feel the value of human live had been diminished.

But in a new video the McCain campaign posted to the popular video sharing site YouTube, Romney says in a May, 2005 press conference, "I am absolutely committed to my promise to maintain the status quo with regards to laws relating to abortion and choice and so far I've been able to successfully do that. And my personal philosophical views about this issue is not something that I think would do anything other than distract from what I think is a more critical agenda."

In a statement titled "Mitt vs. Fact," McCain spokesman Matt David said Romney's "biggest challenge in this election will be convincing Republicans he has principled positions on important issues, especially now that it's known that he remained committed to pro-choice policies after his 'epiphany' on abortion in 2004."

Romney's campaign quickly fired back, calling the attack "borne of desperation" and said "selective editing" had taken Massachusetts Republican's comments out of context.

"Governor Romney is firmly pro-life and can rely on his record of having protected the sanctity of life when faced with those issues as governor," Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said. "Governor Romney consistently maintained, in an effort to protect the sanctity of life, that he would fight attempts to weaken the state’s existing abortion laws."

"Maintaining existing laws in a state like Massachusetts was an important fight in and of itself," Madden added.

The Romney campaign also noted the remarks in question are from a press conference explaining his veto of a stem cell bill that he said supported "embryo farming, cloning for experimentation, and a redefinition of when life begins."

The campaigns' war of words come one day after a new CNN/WMUR poll indicates Romney has opened up an eight point lead in New Hampshire over both McCain and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: John McCain • Mitt Romney
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. DJ, Los Angeles, CA

    The Republican race is getting ugly. McCain did good by slamming him.

    Hard to tell if politicians are simplying lying to get votes...or where they really stand on the real issues.

    Caught on video...he is exposed. Sounds like he is either lying or can't get his facts straight.

    I'm guessing he is a liar – just trying to say whatever he thinks will win votes.

    June 13, 2007 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. josh embry, austin, tx

    Good try John McCain, but It's too late. McCains attacks will fail just like his imigration bill. Say hello to America's next president... Mitt Romney.

    June 13, 2007 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. Robert Cadalso

    Flip / Flop Whatever, Romney.

    June 13, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. travis

    When Romney ran in liberal Massachusetts he promised the voters that he would not change the status quo. Surprisingly they thought he was too pro-choice. I guess McCain is pointing out that he kept that promise.

    June 13, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. travis

    sorry, too pro-life

    June 13, 2007 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Chad, Arlington, VA

    Seriously Mccain. Desperate are we and the media gives him a free pass as usualy by not even mentioning that he is on the ropes and going negative in an attempt to save his flailing campaign.

    first he dropped out of the ames straw poll becasue he knew he couldn't beat Romney, then Romney take over as frontrunner in Iowa and New Hampshire, then mccain gets nailed for supporting amnesty and romney calls him out on it. Now he is having trouble raising money and losing supporter to the Thompson campaign.

    Mccain is on teh ropes so he goes back to rehash old news. Everybody knows Romney was converted to be pro life. He is not ashamed of that converstion nor should be bash him for it.

    mccain is getting desperate adn doing what he does best, being tempermental.

    June 13, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. S. Richard, Olathe, KS

    I'm beginning to sense a pattern here: John McCain initiates catty, manipulative attacks against Romney, and Romney responds decisively, but with class. The contrast between the candidates could not be greater. Just as before, McCain looks more and more desperate, and Romney looks classy. I had a lot of doubts at first, but I like Mitt more and more every day.

    June 13, 2007 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. Lauren

    A person can change their mind when it comes to an issue as big as abortion. Romney has made it very clear that he was wrong about his former pro-choice stance and that he will fully support pro-life efforts now.

    McCain is just playing dirty because he's losing.

    June 13, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  9. Rob, Washington D.C.

    Interesting that Romney can switch stances 3 years before running for president, yet republicans decry a change in stances by Kerry stemming over 30 years. Hypocritical? Yes... errr, no... if you're a republican.

    June 13, 2007 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  10. David, Gilbert Arizona

    Looks like another candidate for the flip-flop hall of fame to me. Abortion isn't the only issue Mitt has waffled on.

    June 14, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. McBain, Boston, MA

    Here's Romney in 2004, campaigning for Bush:
    "Senator Kerry has been my senator for 20 years; I do not know what he stands for," Romney said...
    Of Kerry, Romney said: "His conflicted positions have been well documented, as have his tortured explanations of them. I believe they flow from conflicts of interest that he has difficulty reconciling...."


    Romney's followers are pathetic dupes.

    June 15, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |