Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is shifting his position on abortion, just as George H.W. Bush did prior to the 1980 election:
Governor Mitt Romney said this week in a nationally published interview that he is ”in a different place” on abortion than at the time of his first run for public office in Massachusetts, when he pledged to keep abortion ”safe and legal in this country.”
His remarks were made during an interview with USA Today, which focused on Romney’s unlikely success as a Republican in a Democratic state. But the comments were immediately seen by some close watchers of the abortion debate and presidential politics as a sign that Romney would shift rightward on the issue if he were to seek the GOP nomination for the White House in 2008.
”Understand, over time one’s perspective changes somewhat,” Romney told USA Today. ”I’m in a different place than I was probably in 1994, when I ran against Ted Kennedy, in my own views on that.” The governor declined to elaborate.
Yesterday Julie Teer, the governor’s spokeswoman, refused to explain how Romney’s position has changed, saying only that it has ”evolved over time.” Teer emphasized, however, that his ”commitment to the people of Massachusetts to maintain the status quo while he is governor has not changed.”
Tacking to the right on abortion would make Romney more appealing to socially conservative voters in presidential primaries outside Massachusetts, but it would not play as well with the Bay State’s liberal and moderate voters if he ran for governor again. Romney is expected to announce his intentions this fall.