group that backs abortion rights will start an ad campaign
this weekend in Iowa and New Hampshire portraying Mitt
Romney as a flip-flopper and drawing attention to a
questionnaire he filled out in 2002 endorsing legal
The ads by the
Republican Majority for Choice suggest Romney's current
anti-abortion stance is politically motivated. The group
will spend more than $100,000 to air a 30-second
television spot in Iowa and New Hampshire and run full
page ads Sunday in TheDes Moines Register, the Concord Monitor, and
the New Hampshire Union Leader.
opportunist,'' Jennifer Blei Stockman, national cochair of
Republican Majority for Choice, said in an interview. ''It's
important for voters to know who they are voting
other members of the group's board have donated to the
presidential campaign of former New York mayor Rudy
Giuliani, an advocate of abortion rights. Stockman
contributed $2,300 to Giuliani's campaign last May.
But Stockman said
the group itself has not endorsed a candidate in the
presidential contest. She stressed that the Republican
Majority for Choice and the Giuliani campaign have had
no discussions regarding the ad campaign.
month in Iowa, Giuliani expressed disapproval of any outside
advertising effort that might surface on his behalf akin to
the one John McCain's supporters have launched in
South Carolina. McCain has asked his donors not to
bankroll such campaigns.
Asked whether he
would make the same request of his backers, Giuliani
said, ''My donors aren't, so that's not really a fair
question. No one has suggested that there's any such
thing going on on my behalf. I would not want to see
such a thing going on on my behalf. I would never ask
anybody to do that, and I would ask people not to do that
because all it does is confuse your race.''
former governor of Massachusetts, has won the backing of
some key religious conservatives but is still dogged
by suspicions about his stance on some social issues.
He has said he changed his view on abortion in 2004
during debates over stem cell research. He said he became
convinced he could not publicly support abortion rights
while being personally opposed to abortion.
Kevin Madden said Wednesday, ''The political group that
is attacking and distorting Governor Romney's position is
desperately trying to destroy the Republican Party's
position on the issue of protecting life, while also
supporting Mayor Giuliani and his pro-choice position
that is at odds with grassroots conservative Republicans.''
will not back down from his pro-life position, despite
this group's attempts to weaken the party platform and
promote Mayor Giuliani's pro-choice candidacy,''
The ads come as
Romney is facing a serious challenge in Iowa from former
Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a favorite among many
religious conservatives and a critic of abortions. At
the same time, Giuliani is ramping up his campaign in
New Hampshire and would benefit from Romney stumbles
In 2002, Romney
sought and obtained the endorsement of the Republican
Majority for Choice. Stockman said the group decided to run
the ads during a board meeting in October in New York.
''If we weren't
so betrayed by the dishonesty of Mitt Romney's actions,
we would not be running ads,'' Stockman said.
The ad is the
second by a group opposed to Romney to cite his record on
abortion. Last month the Log Cabin Republicans, a group that
advocates gay rights, aired an ad in Iowa and national
cable that sought to undercut his support among social
The new TV spots
will air in Iowa during Sunday morning talk shows,
including NBC's Meet the Press and ABC's This
Week, and during other news programs Sunday and
In 2002, while
Romney was running for governor of Massachusetts, he
sought the endorsement of the Republican Majority for Choice
and filled out the group's one-page questionnaire
and submitted his own attachment. In the questionnaire
he checked off ''yes'' to a series of questions,
including ''Do you support a woman's constitutional right to
a safe and legal abortion without government
interference, as defined by Roe v. Wade?''
He also checked
off ''yes'' when asked if he backed ''state Medicaid
funding for abortions for poor women'' and ''yes'' again
when asked if he supported removing ''anti-choice
language from the National Republican platform.''
Asked in the
questionnaire if he considered himself pro-choice or
anti-choice, Romney added an attachment that stated, ''I
prefer not to use labels pro-choice or pro-life as
they are overly simplistic. My position is clear. I
will preserve the right of a woman to choose as
provided under current Massachusetts law.''
The television ad
shows images of Romney during his 1994 race for the
U.S. Senate voicing support for abortion rights, followed by
a 2001 quote in The Salt Lake Tribune in which
Romney stated, ''I do not wish to be labeled
pro-choice.'' The ad then shows Romney in a 2002
gubernatorial debate stating his support for a woman's right
to choose and then in 2007 stating that he would like
to see the landmark abortion decision, Roe v.
''Take a stand,
Mr. Romney,'' a narrator says. ''On behalf of the
Republican Majority for Choice, ask Mr. Romney to flip-flop
just one more time. And stay there.''
Stockman said the
campaign is likely to expand. ''This is not the end of
it,'' she said. (Jim Kuhnhenn, AP)