Pro-Life Democrat Seriously Considering Party Chair Bid, Talks Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 22, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Democrat Seriously Considering Party Chair Bid, Talks Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 22, 2004

South Bend, IN ( — Former Indiana Congressman Tim Roemer is pro-life in a party that is overwhelmingly pro-abortion in its upper echelons. But with loses in the last two presidential elections that polls attribute in part to the issue of abortion, party leaders may be ready for someone different.

Earlier this month, it came as a shock to many that the top two Democrats, incoming Senate Democratic chief Harry Reid and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, are actively encouraging Roemer to run for the DNC chairmanship.

For his part, Roemer acknowledges the gap between his view and most Democrats.

"[O]n the issue of abortion, I fully recognize that our party is overwhelmingly ‘pro-choice,’" Roemer told the South Bend Tribune newspaper. "As someone who personally holds a different view, I believe that there must be a place in our party for those who have alternative positions."

Roemer admonishes the party to not alienate those who have deeply felt beliefs against abortion.

"We must respect the opinions of others and have a partywide conversation about how we assure Americans that we, too, are people of faith who connect with their values and their everyday lives," Roemer told the Tribune.

A former member of the commission that investigated the September 11th terrorist attacks, Roemer hasn’t announced an official bid to lead the DNC.

However, he seriously enough considering running to mail a letter to all 447 Democratic delegates who will be voting in February to replace outgoing chairman Terry McAuliffe, who backs abortion and used the issue to attack President Bush during the elections.

In the letter, Roemer noted that Democrats lost married women voters and saw President Bush fare well with Catholic and Hispanic voters. Those traditionally Democratic blocs supported Bush in record numbers in large part because of the difference between the president and John Kerry on abortion.

But whether a Roemer chairmanship would make any impact on abortion is a key question — especially considering the stranglehold abortion advocates have on the party and its message.

"Tim Roemer would provide an interesting leadership change for the DNC, particularly in view of the many pro-life votes he cast as a member of Congress," Indiana Right to Life executive director Mike Fichter told

"Roemer’s influence could potentially challenge the DNC to rethink its radical devotion to abortion on demand," Fichter added.

But, Roemer’s down to Earth style may clash with the kind of aggressive politics pro-abortion groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood use to go after pro-life candidates.

Stuart Rothenberg, publisher of a respected nonpartisan newsletter on campaign politics, says "Roemer’s style is kind of low-key and thoughtful."

"You just wonder, would he be a guy who’d really want that kind of a job," he told the Indianapolis Star newspaper.

Some of the other people considering bids for the party chair position include former Vermont governor Howard Dean; Rep. Martin Frost of Texas; former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard; former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk; former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb; former Clinton aide Harold Ickes; Simon Rosenberg, founder of the New Democratic Network; and party strategist Donnie Fowler. All support abortion.