Top prolife activists say Mitt Romney should have pressed pro-life issues more on the campaign trail than he did — drawing a starker contrast between his pro-life views and President Barack Obama’s abortion record.
“Barack Obama’s re-election is a tragedy for the country. It is also the latest in a series of missed opportunities for the Republican Party. Voters overwhelmingly disagree with the extreme positions on abortion taken by President Obama and the Democrats,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of the Susan B. Anthony List. “Mitt Romney, the Republican Party, and their Super PAC allies never highlighted this vulnerability, despite the fact that our polling of likely swing voters revealed it to be a persuasive line of argument.”
“What was presented as discipline by the Romney campaign by staying on one message –the economy– was a strategic error that resulted in a winning margin of pro-life votes being left on the table,” she told LifeNews.
“The Romney campaign and its Super PAC allies failed to challenge the incredible and objectively false statements made by President Obama and Vice President Biden regarding America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, as well as the HHS Mandate which forces religious employers to pay for coverage of abortion-inducing drugs. These are issues that could have changed the outcome of the election,” she contends. “This election is a tragic reminder that when the Republican Party ceases to hold fast to an integrated, three-legged stool approach, uniting social, economic, and national security conservatives, it cannot win. Critical pro-life votes were left on the table. Victory was handed to the opponent.”
SBA List polling of likely swing voters found that a majority (54%) would be less likely to vote for President Obama after learning about his extreme abortion record – including that he voted against a law to give equal treatment to babies born alive after a failed abortion (35% much less likely). Key voter groups were also negatively impacted including independents (46%) and pro-choicers (43%).
Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America agreed, saying, “The Republicans insistence in unilaterally disarming on social issues means that only the left is discussing abortion . Refusing to discuss this important issue left their candidates unprepared to intelligently engage on life.
Chuck Donovan, a leading social conservative who is president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, also agreed.
“The GOP old guard received a hard kick yesterday. They talked only sporadically and defensively about social issues to the general public, had no sharp and oft-repeated messaging on health-care repeal and reform, and tried to win by “bread alone.” If they could not win that way this year, bread alone is not a winning proposition,” he explained.
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He said that social conservative issues at the ballot performed better than Romney and the Republican candidates.
“We did not win much and will take a media beating over it. But all of our issues ran better than the GOP headliner in the eight states listed, with the exception of Florida’s disappointing results on the abortion and Blaine Amendment issues,” he noted. “The social issues are not to blame.”
He added: “I suspect many voters now believe there is no effective difference between the parties on these issues, no operational outcome on which they can rely. That is not to say there was no difference this time because I believe Romney would have kept his social promises, but a handful of his own dismissive comments about abortion and past GOP performance on the issue weaken the connection in many voters’ minds.”