Tuesday, February 20, 2007
The following are excerpts from an interview of Mitt Romney, conducted by Washington Post journalists Dan Balz, David S. Broder and Ruth Marcus at the National Governors Association meeting, Feb. 28, 2005.
Question: I wanted to ask you about this, because it got a lot of coverage last week, your position on abortion. Your language about it in describing yourself, your personal views about abortion, your view in terms of not changing the law, as a governor, and your conclusion that therefore you are pro-life is almost identical to Senator Kerry's description of his personal view of abortion, his view of not wanting to change the law, and his conclusion that that makes him pro-choice. What's the difference between. . . .
Romney: "I would never seek to contrast and compare. I didn't do well on that in college and I won't try and do well now. I can tell you what my position is and it's in a very narrowly defined sphere, as candidate for governor and as governor of Massachusetts, what I said to people was that I personally did not favor abortion, that I am personally pro-life. however, as governor I would not change the laws of the commonwealth relating to abortion. now I don't try and put a bow around that and say what does that mean you are - does that mean you're pro-life or pro-choice, because that whole package - meaning I'm personally pro-life but I won't change the laws, you could describe that as - well I don't think you can describe it in one hyphenated word.
"And I've always said to people you can't just give me one hyphenated word for that position because it has to be described. So I'm personally pro life as governor of Massachusetts, which is an overwhelmingly pro-choice state. I committed that I would not change the laws relating to abortion. What's interesting. just as an aside, you mentioned that's similar to what John Kerry said. What was interesting to me was when I was in Missouri, someone said, well that's what John Ashcroft said, they said he said the same thing, he's personally pro-life but as attorney general he wouldn't be changing the laws. you have to read the whole statement to assess where an individual is. I felt like it's important to let people know where I stand and what I would do if elected.
Question: "Do you support making abortion illegal? I'm not talking about what you would do as governor of Massachusetts."
Romney: "But that's the furthest I'm going to take you right now. I'm governor of Massachusetts, I'm running for governor of Massachusetts and I'm telling you exactly what I will do as governor of Massachusetts but I'm not going to tell you what I'd do as mayor of Boston or a congressman or any of those positions. I'm the governor of Massachusetts and in that race I made it very clear what I would do as governor. Sean [his aide] came up to me today and said there's a new bill coming up with regards to a particular matter and I said don't tell me what it does, I will veto it. it relates to choice and abortion. I said I don't know whether it's pro-life or pro-choice, I said I would not support any change in the law as governor, whether it's one that conforms with my own personal views or whether it conforms with someone else's views, I've said nothing while governor.
Question: "I just wanted to understand the thinking behind that status quo theory. If the majority of the state has a particular position is that the position that you have?"
Romney: "I'm not going to enter into a philosophical 'where it comes from.' I'm just telling you I'm just telling you what it is."