Report: Rick Santorum supported abortion rights in past

February 21, 2012

Rick Santorum was “basically pro-choice,” an Abramoff scandal convict gets caught with a steak knife, Michele Bachmann will run for the same seat and Romney has a bold new tax plan coming.

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum wasn’t always an ardent foe of abortion. “I was basically pro-choice until I ran for Congress,” Santorum said in a 1995 interview dug up by the Huffington Post. In a 1990 issue statement for his first campaign, he argued for exceptions for rape, incest and the mother’s health, arguing that “a sensitivity to the genuine concerns of both sides is needed.” Pennsylvania lawmakers of the time don’t remember him as pro-life.

* An ex-aide to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), convicted in the Jack Abramoff scandal, must spend 15 wekeends in jail after bringing a steak knife into her halfway home. Ann Copland’s attorney said his client accidentally left a knife and fork in her purse after her her boyfriend brought her a steak. Three years ago, Copland plead guilty to swapping legislative favors for gifts from Abramoff’s firm.

* A poll of 599 likely voters done for a pro-recall group, the Cops for Justice Fund, finds three Democrats leading Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) in head-to-head matchups. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees endorsed Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today in the likely recall election against Walker over his collective bargaining legislation. Petitions to recall the governor still have yet to be ceritified.

* Arizona Sherrif Joe Arpaio — known for his controversial tactics and opposition to illegal immigration — says he won’t endorse before his state’s Feb. 28th primary. He backed Rick Perry until the Texas governor bowed out of the race.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is coming out with a bolder tax-cut plan, according to the National Review. The new proposal will be released either at tomorrow night’s CNN debate or in a Friday speech at the Detroit Economic Club.

* Both the pro-Santorum super PAC Red White & Blue Fund and the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future are out with hard-hitting ads in Michigan today. Restore Our Future’s “Values” attacks Santorum’s congressional record, saying “more than 20 years in Washington changed Santorum’s values.” The Red White & Blue Fund ad asks, “How can Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama when on the vital decisions they’re not much different?”

* A judicial panel’s new redistricting map in Minnesota puts Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann and Betty McCollum together in the 4th district, but Bachmann will run for her old 6th district seat. The map makes only minor changes but gives Democrats a shot at taking another seat in the evenly-split congressional delegation.

* Former Susan B. Komen Foundation executive Karen Handel will be interviewed by conservative columnist Marvin Olasky at Patrick Henry College, an evangelical Christian school in Virginia, tonight. The event will stream online; it comes two weeks after she resigned due to a backlash over the organization’s (later rescinded) decision to cut grants to Planned Parenthood.

* California Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D) will run for California’s open 26th district seat, a relief for Democrats after Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett dropped out of the race. Republican Rep. Elton Gallegly represents much of this territory, but he’s retiring, and the new seat is far more Democratic. Brownley’s decision will likely quell calls for Rep. Brad Sherman to move to the 26th rather than fight Rep. Howard Berman (D) in the primary for the 27th district.

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With Aaron Blake

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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