organization that advocates gay rights is targeting GOP
presidential candidate Mitt Romney in an ad campaign,
seeking to undercut his support among social
conservatives by highlighting his past statements in
support of abortion rights.
Romney, a former
Massachusetts governor, has spent months courting social
conservatives in key primary states, trying to erase doubts
about his previous moderate stands.
But in a
30-second television ad that will air in
Iowa and on national cable, the Log Cabin Republicans use
clips from a debate during Romney's unsuccessful 1994
campaign in Massachusetts for U.S. Senate to portray
him as an enemy of religious conservatives.
''For years he's
fought conservatives and religious extremists,'' an
announcer declares. On the screen, Romney, 13 years younger,
is shown in the midst of a debate with Sen. Edward
Kennedy, whom he was seeking to unseat.
''I believe that
abortion should be safe and legal in this country,''
Romney says. ''I believe that, since Roe vs.
Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should
sustain and support it.''
Romney has said
he changed his view on abortion after a November 2004
meeting with a Harvard stem cell researcher. He said he
became convinced he could not be publicly supportive
of abortion rights while being personally opposed to
Romney has repeatedly made clear: Like many other
Republicans including Ronald Reagan, he wasn't always
pro-life,'' Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said.
''Governor Romney has said he was wrong and hopes he
never stops learning from his mistakes or trying to do
the Log Cabin Republicans of favoring Republican Rudy
Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City who has
supported abortion rights and some gay rights. Leading
religious conservatives have voiced their opposition
to Giuliani's candidacy.
president Patrick Sammon said his group is not endorsing any
candidate in the Republican primaries and caucuses, though
he has said in the past that Giuliani is ''a very
strong leader with an inclusive record.''
supports a federal marriage amendment, and so it makes
sense that a national gay rights group would attack him,''
campaign Romney has supported a plank in the 2004 Republican
Party platform that called for the repeal of Roe
vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that
established a constitutional right to abortion. He has
brushed off questions about his abortion views,
stating: ''I'm pro-life; it would be great if we could
just leave it at that.''
The ad's narrator
states that Romney ''opposed the gun lobby, even Ronald
Reagan.'' In a clip of the same 1994 debate with
Kennedy, Romney states: ''I was independent during the
time of Reagan-Bush; I'm not trying to return to
Reagan-Bush.'' The narrator concludes: ''A record of
fighting the religious right. A pro-choice record.
Massachusetts values. Mitt Romney.''
Though placed by
a gay rights advocacy group, the ad is silent on
Romney's views of homosexuality. Lately, Romney has been
running a radio ad casting himself as the only major
GOP candidate backing a constitutional amendment to
ban same-sex marriage. His critics have argued that
his views were not as definitive when he was Massachusetts
''The bottom line
is this is much more than about gay rights,'' Sammon
said in an interview. ''He has been all over the map on
every single issue. He, quite frankly, hasn't credibly
explained his shifting positions.'' (Jim Kuhnhenn, AP)