July 23rd, 2007
12:53 PM ET
11 years ago

Brownback camp slams Romney on Boy Scout stance

Brownback, left, has directed several criticisms toward Romney.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Sam Brownback’s presidential campaign accused Republican White House rival Mitt Romney of being “hostile to Boy Scout leadership and principles” Monday, the latest in a string of direct criticisms from the Kansas Republican designed undermine the former Massachusetts governors’ conservative credentials.

At issue is Romney’s past support of allowing gays to participate in Boy Scout troops. In a statement, Brownback’s campaign quotes then-Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Romney from a 1994 debate saying “all people should be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.”

The campaign also quotes a Utah news report from 2000 alleging Romney, then head of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics organizing committee, did not welcome scout groups to be part of the games.

“Romney's openness to gay scout leaders conflicts with the Scout Oath, which requires Scouts to be "morally straight," Brownback’s campaign stated.

Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Romney’s campaign, called Brownback’s accusations “distortions,” and noted that in the same 1994 Senate debate, Romney also said he supported allowing the Boy Scout troops to make their own leadership decisions. Madden also quoted a New York Times article from 2002 indicating Romney had invited “200 area Boy Scouts” to take part in the games.

“Some other campaigns will resort to negative attacks and distortions which is an unfortunate reflection on their campaign’s conduct,” Madden added. “Governor Romney has been a supporter of the Boy Scouts and has said he supports their right to decide scouting policies.”

Brownback, struggling to gain momentum among social conservatives, has previously leveled several criticisms against Romney over his changed abortion-rights stance.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Mitt Romney • Sam Brownback
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Travis

    Another day, another Brownback attack. If Brownback really wants to be president, maybe he should talk about why he is the best choice. I have not heard that. Not once.

    July 23, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. Vinny, Boston, MA

    Brownback is right. Say-anything-to-get-elected Romney apparently has two (or more) positions on this issue as well.

    “Some other campaigns will resort to negative attacks and distortions which is an unfortunate reflection on their campaign’s conduct,” Madden added.

    It is unfortunate, and it is exactly what Romney and his campaign are doing to Clinton, Obama, Edwards, McCain, and Giuliani.

    July 23, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  3. Eric Washington, DC

    Democrats debate healthcare, education, poverty, the war in iraq, the war on terror, and such, while the Republicans debate whether gays should marry, adopt, and join the Boy Scouts. Which set of priorities seems appropriate for national discourse?

    July 23, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    If Mitt is going to be "slammed" because he is INCLUSIVE – slam away! As a former scout myself, the Scout Oath's "Morally Straight" was not intended to be a statement of sexual orientation (straight versus gay). The venacular of "straight" versus "gay" only became popular within the last 2 decades... and the Scout Oath was written around 1910. The proper understanding of "Morally Straight" is simply for scouts to live a moral life (The Golden Rule).

    There are likely other areas to criticize Romney – but his being inclusive isnt one of them!

    July 23, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  5. Bob, San Francisco, CA

    What's the matter with Sam Brownback? Are there people out there who actually support his narrow-minded attempts to cater to the most intolerant of the American population? How pathetic.

    July 23, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  6. bret, atl, ga

    Git 'im Brownback! Anyone who takes down these media-chosen frontrunners is OK in my book.

    July 23, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. Austin, St. Louis, MO

    As an Eagle Scout, I wonder if Sen. Brownback himself was a former Scout. If he was, he would know that many people within the organization are in support of allowing homosexual boys and men to participate. What makes a person full of such ire and hatred qualified to interpret the meaning of "morally straight"?

    July 23, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    On the surface it would seen Romney is wrong here, but upon further review, what he has said is totally true.

    Brownbag is just trying to move up, but he should just move on.

    Hey Vinny, hows Mitt's replacement working out in Mass, how about those tax breaks we were promised along with more cops etc, etc. Never gonna happen.

    July 23, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. Travis

    bret, sure there are media chosen front-runners but Romney isn't one of them. He has worked his tail off for just a glimmer of recognition. While Brownback has pontificated, Romney has worked. While Fred has sat on the sides, Romney has worked. Romney is fighting the fight. Sure you can hate him for some reasons but being media-appointed is the silliest thing I've heard. If any 2nd tier raised $20 mill then they would be taken seriously. If he were media appointed, then why would name recognition be such a problem for him?

    July 23, 2007 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. Vinny, Boston, MA

    Tom from Dedham,

    My post had nothing to do with Deval Patrick. At all.

    Romney's campaign for president reminds me of the book 1984 by George Orwell. Like the 'Party', Romney changes his position on an issue (i.e. abortion, stem cells, immigration, gay rights, the Iraq war, etc., etc.) and then claims that this new position was always his position and expects everyone to go along with.

    The man has no spine.

    July 23, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. bjalder26, oak park, IL

    Mitt Romney sits on the national executive board of the Boy Scouts of America

    What has Brownback done for the Boy Scouts?

    Gay’s can be in the Boy Scouts if they are not openly gay. They Boy Scouts doesn’t delve into people’s backgrounds.

    Boy Scouts couldn’t serve in the Olympics because they were too young. There was an age requirement for volunteers.

    While Romney has disagreed with other candidates bad policies, Brownback makes personal attacks.

    July 23, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  12. Michigan

    Brownback and scouts. What's next, brownshirts?

    July 23, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. Pen,Austin,TX

    What a jerk.
    To equate homosexuality with immorality is total bull. Brownback probably wouldnt mind restricting gays' access to public facilities and venues...so homophobic.

    July 23, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. Keith, Albuquerque, NM

    Who cares. The boy scouts should choose their own members. Presidents and hopefuls shouldn't have anything to do with it.

    July 23, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. Mark, Lewiston, ME

    I was a Boy Scout as a child and I respect all those who were and whose kids are today, but Eric in DC is right: Is this a topic worthy of national debate? Regardless of your political persuasion, can't we agree that the sexual orientation of a Boy Scout is not going to determine the fate of the Union? This is the grown-ups table: we need serious people dealing with serious issues.

    July 23, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. Ron Baird Jacksonville Florida

    Mitt Romney looks very nice in the picture he will make a good president and he's very smart when he talks.

    July 23, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. LFR, Penna.

    These two won't make the cut!

    July 23, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  18. Samantha, Dayton, OH

    I didn't realize that Romney had this stance on the Boy Scouts and he has the nerve to call himself a conservative. Knew he was pandering but with this in his background, no wonder his numbers are not doing better.

    Spent all the money to advertise in the State next door and then they tout he is ahead. No wonder he is ahead because southern NH is no different then MA today with all the MA people moving to NH.

    July 23, 2007 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |