June 15th, 2007
03:46 PM ET
9 years ago

Romney tells anti-abortion activists his conversion is real

Watch Romney explain his conversion on the abortion issue.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney told anti-abortion rights activists his conversion on the issue is authentic Friday, following a week in which two of his GOP presidential rivals strongly questioned his commitment to the matter.

"My experience as governor taught me firsthand that the threat to our culture is real and those in a position to do so must take action to defend it," Romney said in a speech at the National Right to Life's annual convention in Kansas City, Missouri. "Times of decision are moments of great clarity. Before I was governor, the life issue was just that, an issue. But when responsibility for life or ending life was placed in my hands, I made the right decision. I chose life."

Romney also directly confronted recent suggestions from both the campaigns of Arizona Sen. John McCain and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback that a YouTube video shows the Massachusetts Republican embraced abortion rights even after he has said he started opposing them.

The video is taken from a May 2005 press conference - six months after he has said he converted on the issue - in which then-Gov. Romney says he is committed to maintaining the abortion rights laws in Massachusetts.

"Recently, I was attacked by one of my opponents because, when I ran for governor, I promised to maintain the status quo with regards to laws relating to abortion in Massachusetts," he added. "Of course, I kept that promise. But in Massachusetts, that meant vetoing pro-choice legislation – as I consistently did as governor."

Brownback, as well as fellow presidential candidates Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, also addressed the conference Friday.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Ken, River City Iowa

    Of course Mitt doesn't mention that his vetoes were always overridden:

    "He likes vetoes, but most of his were inconsequential," said Jim Rappaport, a former chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party and a frequent critic of Romney. "They were like writing in the sand: The waves came in and wiped them out."

    June 15, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Mary, Holland, MI

    He's the Republican version of Slick Willie. I call him Slick Mitt.

    June 15, 2007 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Dan, Utica NY

    flippity-flop. Mitt the Twitt strikes again!

    June 15, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. DJ, Los Angeles, CA

    Yes absolutely...he is just trying to say the right thing to get votes.

    Conviently flip-flops with the changing political winds.

    Of course to win the liberal stronghold state of MA...he was pro-choice.

    Now that he is running to garner conservative voters in the primary...all of sudden he "converts" to pro-life.

    This man looks like and acts like a con-artist.

    June 15, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. Travis

    Wedge issue thrown out by McCain's failing campaign and Brownback's non-campaign. Maybe Brownback should ask McCain if abortion is "murder". The reason Romney is targeted is because he is rising and McCain is falling. And Brownback is beating his one and only drum.

    June 15, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. Greg, Boise, Idaho

    Anyone who thinks that one has to have the same opinion about a given topic all of their lives in order to be insincere is showing their intellectual shallowness. Intelligent people do continuously challenge their thoughts with new information and ways of looking at things. That's how they prevent intellectual flabbiness from setting in.

    June 15, 2007 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. Greg Boise, Idaho

    Oops - I meant "sincere"

    June 15, 2007 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  8. Gregg Meridian, Idaho

    An intelligent person will continuously challenge their thoughts, and perhaps even change their mind. Otherwise, one becomes intellectually lazy.

    June 15, 2007 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  9. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    "[W]hen responsibility for life or ending life was placed in my hands, I made the right decision". The U.S. Constitution does not hand a Governor or President a right to make medical decisions for a woman or for the life wholly within and dependent upon her. Her right of privacy has been part of our constitutional jurisprudence established before Roe which is unlikely to be reversed.

    June 15, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  10. Dawn, Brockton, MA

    I lived in Massachusetts when Mitt Romney was governor. The man was a joke! He vetoed practically everything that came his way (all of which were later overturned). He thought he could balance the budget by cutting all of the viable funding for the towns and cities, including education and safety (re: police officers). Mitt lived in his own little world while acting as the governor of our state and he will not be remembered for doing anything worthwhile when he was in office.

    June 16, 2007 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  11. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR

    Romney explains himself well. "Flip-flop" and "say anything" are merely cliches that don't stick once you expose the selectively edited version. Romney did what he could with abortion in a very liberal state. Given a more conservative nation to work with, he will do what he can there as well.

    June 16, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Ned Smith, St. James, NY

    Of course intellectually honest people can, and should, change their opinions on occasion. But doesn't it seem a bit odd that all of Mitt's changes seem to bring him closer to the GOP primary electorate's views. With all the "conversions" he seems to have experienced recently, wouldn't the law of averages dictate a few might have gone in the other direction, if they were truly honest changes?

    June 16, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. S. Richard, Olathe, KS

    'With all the “conversions” he seems to have experienced recently, wouldn’t the law of averages dictate a few might have gone in the other direction, if they were truly honest changes?'

    Some have, actually. Mitt was asked this very question in the second debate. He replied that in his 1994 Senate run, he supported eliminating the Department of Education, a red-meat position popular with the conservative base. He now feels that's not the answer anymore. We must now operate within the existing framework of the DOE, he said, rather than raze it entirely. So there you have it.

    June 17, 2007 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  14. Pat Chtown PEI

    Oh well, then, that changes everything..

    I mean, knowing that thirteen years ago he made a very poor decision, received very unpopular feed back and then decided to flip flop....

    Well I'm sure that information will win him many votes in the Presidential Campaign. (definite sarcasm)

    June 17, 2007 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |