Romney, Gingrich, Santorum Want to be Seen as Most Pro-Life

Politics   Steven Ertelt   Jan 12, 2012   |   1:40PM    Washington, DC

Mitt Romney stressed economic themes as he campaigned in New Hampshire, which is not quite the pro-life state South Carolina is — so he’s turned up the volume on this pro-life beliefs in the Palmetto State.

Now that he is campaigning in the southern state that is the third Republican presidential battleground in the race to replace pro-abortion President Barack Obama, Romney is talking more about his pro-life views in his speeches and rallies. He is also doing so in response to attack ads from former Speaker Newt Gingrich complaining that Romney was pro-abortion as governor of Massachusetts before converting to the pro-life position.

“I understand that there are some attack ads coming my way that question that,” Romney told reporters, according to Politico. “And obviously it’s important for me to remind people that I’m pro-life.”

“I’m convinced that the principles of opportunity, and freedom and the protection of life were not temporary but are permanent and that if America is going through tough times, we’ve just got to not stray from those principles, but instead return to them,” Romney said. “The founders, in writing the Declaration of Independence, said that we had been endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Politico said Romney indicated he pressed pro-life themes in New Hampshire, too.

“People in New Hampshire know extraordinarily well that I stood for life,” he said. “It was very highly publicized in New England and particularly in the Boston papers and the Boston stations that I became pro-life, described why I became pro-life. I’m proud of that fact and continue to make that message.”

Gingrich has also been touting his pro-life and trying to make the case he is more pro-life than Romney.

“The reason you want to have a conservative is you want a race that has a vivid choice,” Gingrich said Wednesday. “We need somebody who understands that they are truly a social conservative. I believe life begins at conception and I believe abortion is wrong.”

And Rick Santorum, who is considered by some pro-life voters to be the strongest pro-life candidate in the race, is also pressing pro-life themes, according to Politico.

“I’ve been outspoken on marriage, I’ve been outspoken on life,” Santorum said Wednesday night at an event in West Columbia. “It’s interesting, because all the other candidates in this race by and large, some a little different, have the same position I do on marriage and life. But I’m always told I’m the extreme candidate. Now maybe it’s because I’m the only one that actually talks about it. And maybe get the impression I actually mean it. Whether they do or not, I’ll leave that up to you.”

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, who is pro-life, told pro-life radio host Laura Ingraham that Gingrich should drop the negative ads on abortion he is running against Romney.

He said, “Well, believe it or not, it’s the same kind of ad they ran against me when I first ran for Congress. I was not supposedly the conservative in the race. I don’t think that’s healthy right now.  I think it’s fine to point out people’s records, but the only way we’re going to ever win the battle for life is to convince a lot of people that used to be pro-choice to be pro-life. And so we — I think this idea of condemning people who change their minds is not a good idea for any of us, whether it’s politicians or just the average American, because a lot of Americans have been a part of and been affected by abortion and we need to welcome them to the pro-life movement. I don’t think we can do it with ads like that.”

The most recent South Carolina poll shows a close race with Romney leading, Gingrich second and Santorum third. Romney won the Iowa caucus vote with Santorum second and won the New Hampshire primary with Ron Paul second.