August 5th, 2007
11:14 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney calls Brownback 'desperate'

Romney defended his stance on abortion on Sunday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney called Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback "desperate" and "negative" for justifying automated phone calls to Iowa voters calling Romney pro-life at the start of the Republican debate in Iowa on Sunday morning.

In the calls, Brownback's campaign said that "nothing is further from the truth" than Romney's pro-life position. He criticized Romney's wife, Ann, for contributing to Planned Parenthood and said that until two years ago, he pledged to uphold abortion rights legislation. Brownback defended the ad and called it "truthful," while in response, Romney said "virtually nothing in that ad is true."

"I get tired of people who are holier than thou because they've been pro-life longer than I have," Romney said.

Romney has received criticism for blatantly changing his views on abortion. He defended himself for switching his views from being “effectively pro-choice” to pro-life and said that he is "proud of the fact."

–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

Filed under: Iowa • Mitt Romney • Race to '08 • Sam Brownback
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Bill Clinton was a GREAT president, maybe not sinfree, but good for the people and so will Hillary be good for the people. I just hope she doesn't have a Robin Hood mentality that benefit a 'lazy' minority instead of equality for all – rich & poor. What you put out, you get back!

    August 5, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. Lee Littlejohn, Denver, Co

    I thought Gov. Romney's comment that Sen. Brownback is desperate is right on. I believe specifically calling out opponents like that, with UNTRUE statements, is NOT the right way to campaign. And I can't agree more that it's completely pointless to think that you're somehow better because you've felt a certain way on an issue longer than someone else. Mitt Romney has always been PERSONALLY Pro Life – but after detailed consideration, now feels like overturning Roe v Wade would be the right thing to do. He's in the right place now, and I am confident he feels strongly about it, and is there to stay.

    August 5, 2007 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. Jeff K, West Hills, CA

    The story of the Republican debate sure did get buried on It was hard to avoid when CNN was hosting the Democratic debate. Come on guys. The debates are news, even when you are not broadcasting them.

    August 5, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. Will, Albuquerque NM

    Romney is only pro-himself, like a lot of Massachusetts politicians. If being pro-cannibal would give him a better chance of being elected, he'd have a miracle conversion tomorrow. Brownback has been a leader in the pro-life movement for a long time, and has seen a lot of Romney types, so he knows what he's talking about.

    August 5, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  5. John, NYC

    Romney is so ridiculous. He's been on every different side of every issue. He's not principled in the slightest and while I do not agree with Brownback on most things I will admit he's a very principled individual on issues like life and Darfur and the like.

    August 5, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. Vinod, Sarasota, FL

    Amidst fighting terrorism, a complicated war in Iraq, and the lack of health insurance for 47 million Americans, I think it is ridiculously myopic, almost childish, to see these Republican candidates bickering about who's been "pro-life longer" and resorting to such campaign tactics. The GOP must move on from making abortion such a central issue when there are much more pressing agenda items to target. So called "pro-lifers" fight like heck to overturn Roe v. Wade but have no difficulty sacrificing young Americans in foreign wars, not too mention civilian casualties. I don't see them protecting "life" in these situations.

    August 5, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. KebD

    What is thin, open, and worn in the summer months?
    = FLIP FLOP!

    (Right on, Vinod! Pro-life includes all life...and shouldn't be used as an ingenuine campaign tactic for cheap votes.)

    August 5, 2007 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. Jake, SLC

    While many people consider candidates changing their view on an issue simply 'flip-flopping', I'd much rather vote for a candidate like Romney who is willing to look an issue from a different perspective and change their mind rather than stick with a position they don't agree with because they're afraid to admit it. People grow and change- do you want another Bush??? And as far as Brownback is concerned, while I agree that he is a principled man, he's not going to get elected by pointing out other candidate's weaknesess, candiates win elections by highlighting their own strengths.

    August 5, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. lipper American

    Mitt Romney.......the perfect GOP standard bearer..... stands for only what is politically expedient at the time but by golly, he LOOKS like a president!

    August 5, 2007 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  10. Nate, Bronx NY

    Well said Jake...dito.

    August 5, 2007 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  11. Ron Nebraska

    Just a question Jake.......did you not consider voting for Kerry because he was labled a flip-flopper by your side? Just curious.

    August 5, 2007 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  12. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    These guys would be amusing if they weren't so pathetic. Brownback doesn't believe in evolution, and is perhaps his own best exhibit for that view. Mitt awaits the Second Coming somewhere in Missouri, and bristles when questioned about what most people agree is a Christian cult which is so important to him. WWJD? Vote for any Democrat but Hillary or Obama.

    August 5, 2007 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  13. Wayne Doering, Clarendon, Texas

    All these GOPers running for the White House are nothing but a Bush Clone or should I say a Bush Clown.
    Senator Obama is the only Man that has a Plan that makes sense.
    We need to get rid of the whole damn Bush Company and that includes the GOPers following in the same same shoes that "W" puts on every morning.

    August 5, 2007 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  14. James in Shanghai

    How can you say Brownback is a principled man? Have you not read lately about his complaints to the Huckabee campaign for the whisper attack on his Catholic beliefs? Then consider that Brownback himself is the perpetrator of a whisper campaign against Romney's religious beliefts.

    If you feel hypocrisy is evidence of "a principled man", then you are right, Brownback is your man.

    August 5, 2007 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  15. Ryan, Provo, UT

    I'm no Romney supporter but I agree that its childish to focus your ad campaign on dragging someone else down. Romney's abortion switch has already been beaten to death. If Brownback thinks that the thing that will get him to most votes at this point is bashing other people rather than telling us his plans, then he must really be desperate.

    August 5, 2007 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  16. Evan Esteves, Boca Raton, FL

    Mitt Romney is a pompous, arrogant, fool. Go back to Utah buddy!

    August 5, 2007 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  17. Charles, MA

    God forbid we get another "pro-life" president. Right, God? Right?

    August 5, 2007 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  18. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    Romney's mother ran for office and was actively pro-choice for women even though she herself believed abortion wasn't the right thing to do, she just believed that everyone had a right to decide for themselves. Romney was raised pro-choice.

    He evolved to pro-life on his own and he has never hidden or disputed the fact that he once believed differently.

    The desperate attempts by critics to point to views held years ago doesn't sway anyone who can watch and listen to Romney and decide for themselves.

    The man is most professional where the country needs him most to be.

    August 6, 2007 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  19. Loma Linda, Ca.

    One more evidence as to how ever more pigpen like this election will be! What election anyway when Washington, in the way I see it, is nothing but an ever bigger monster, and a nest of corruption if there ever was one. This with no apology whatsover! I am fedup along with millions of other Americans, who have long ago stopped wasting their time in voting.

    August 6, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  20. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    What we get tired of is politicians who flip flop on their positions for the purpose of political expedience. Does Mitt even have a real position? Or is everything he does calculated in order to bring him the highest return in political position and power?

    August 6, 2007 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  21. Madelaine Denver Co

    I find it amusing ( albeit,pathetically so) that these candidates champion a pro-life agenda but think nothing of sending more of our already-born children to their deaths in Iraq.

    August 6, 2007 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  22. don

    John from NYC

    Is Brownback 'principled' on immigration? or did he vote for amnesty before he voted against it?

    brownback is a mccain wannabee just like fred thompson.

    August 6, 2007 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. Will, Asheville, NC

    Go back to Kansas, Brownback. This big stage is not for you.

    August 6, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  24. Chris, Middletown, CT

    I am a Republican from Connecticut – a perpetual "blue" state even if the Democrats ran a monkey for President (ironically – they have the past several times....but I digress) – I agree that Romney will only charge the left with his abortion comments – if he felt so strongly about it – he would of done something when he was governor – now....either he's insincere or he's incapable – either way – a poor choice as a leader – I mean better than Hillary – but....what isn't.

    August 6, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. John

    Mitt Romney is the only desperate one here.

    I really do not like Brownback, but he is right. Mitt Romney has flip-flopped more on abortion than a pile of pancakes. Romney sees his status in the polls and with the people falling, so he attacks others. He's attacked Brownback, and in the debate he attacked Paul. Soon he'll attack Huckabee, so he'll have attacked his three major competitors in the upcoming Straw Poll.

    Romney, grow up, Mormons should be ashamed of you and your foolish antics.

    August 6, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
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