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