Mitt Romney Tries New Approach to Responding to Abortion Change

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 1, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mitt Romney Tries New Approach to Responding to Abortion Change Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 1
, 2007

Concord, NH ( — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is trying to a new approach to answering questions about his position change on abortion. Romney previously campaigned as a pro-abortion candidate and now says he is pro-life on both abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

His previous explanations have focused on a conversation he had with scientists at Harvard University that he says alarmed him about the "cheapening" of human life.

In telling presidential primary voters about his change of heart, he likened himself to President Ronald Reagan or former pro-life Congressman Henry Hyde, who he says experienced conversions on pro-life issues similar to his own.

But at a meeting Thursday with more than 150 New Hampshire residents, Romney tried a new tact at explaining his position change that he may have hoped would resonate more with voters in this fiscally conservative but socially liberal state.

"If you had somebody in the private sector who didn’t change their mind when they knew they were wrong, you fired them because they were stubborn," Romney told the audience, according to an AP report. "I’m happy to admit when I make mistakes and go on."

"And my experience is that to the voters, the response is overwhelmingly positive: ‘We’ve got a guy who’ll admit his mistakes, tell us what he’s going to do and he’ll honor that,’" Romney explained further.

But that may not be enough to convince pro-life advocates who say he’s still not sufficiently one of them or that his change of heart came too close to his presidential bid.

Kim Lehman, president of Iowa Right to Life, told Bloomberg News that "there’s a trust factor" that seems to be lacking in his conversion.

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, must explain to pro-life Republican voters why they should trust him to be president and Arizona Sen. John McCain must explain his own flip-flop on Roe v. Wade and support for embryonic stem cell research. both have sought to reassure pro-life voters they will do right by them.

In the same way, Romney’s change of heart will either be seen by pro-life advocates as a badge of honor pandering at its worst.