by Steven Ertelt
August 13, 2007
Ames, IA (LifeNews.com) — The top three finishers in Saturday’s straw poll responded to their showing by saying their support validated their pro-life stances. For Mike Huckabee and Sam Brownback, the pro-life advocates hoped the straw poll would elevate them to the top-tier while Mitt Romney hoped it would put abortion questions behind him.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, won the event with 31 percent of the vote.
During the entirety of the campaign, he has been dogged by questions about his abortion stance because he says he had a change of heart and became pro-life just a couple of years ago.
Mitt Romney appeared on the "Fox News Sunday" program and said the straw poll results mean pro-life Republican voters are open to accepting a newly converted pro-life candidate.
"I think with 300 events across Iowa and a message that was clear as a bell, people coming out in large numbers on a hot day sent a pretty strong message," he said.
Romney added that he thinks the results show he persevered at a time when the top pro-life candidates were strongly attacking him on the issue.
"I frankly think that the people whose campaigns were entirely focused on trying to bring me down and attack me — those campaigns weren’t successful," he told Fox News. "Obviously, they’re going to continue to come at me with hammer and tong, but I believe people want to look beyond the attacks and understand what is it that a person stands for."
Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, said his second place showing — he received 18 percent of the non-binding vote — revealed that his pro-life stance resonates with Iowa voters.
"Republicans look for a conservative who has had consistency in his principles," he told CBS News. "And there is not going to be any YouTube moments of me saying something substantially different on the sanctity of life."
Brownback, the Kansas senator who has pushed the pro-life issue the hardest and had Norma McCorvey and Terri Schiavo’s brother Bobby on hand Saturday to tout his candidacy, said his third place standing of 15 percent shows pro-life issues matter.
On ABC’s "This Week" program, Brownback said, "There are probably three or four tickets out of Iowa. I think I can be one of those."
He disputed Romney’s claims that abortion is a non-issue and that he’s successfully answered Brownback’s claims that he is inconsistent.
"I don’t think he’s put it away. I think he’s really maxing his vote," Brownback explained. "I think Mitt Romney has probably hit up on top of his ceiling, and I think I have got a lot of room to grow and be able to introduce myself to a lot more people."