Mitt Romney was pressed Thursday on his history of evolving positions.
His response: “I’ve been as consistent as human beings can be.”
“You can see in my record as governor what I believe and what I’d do,” he said. “I cannot state every single issue in exactly the same words every single time. And so there are some folks who obviously for various political and campaign purposes will try and find some change and draw great attention to something which looks like a change which in fact is entirely consistent.”
This story in Thursday’s Post revealed how, as a candidate for governor nine years ago and then during his term, Romney courted a number of liberal activists by telling some of them that he would rise nationally and help shift the Republican Party to the left.
He told abortion rights advocates that he would protect state laws permitting abortion and would be a “good voice” for them in the GOP. A number of gay activists came away from conversations with Romney feeling that, despite his public opposition to gay marriage, he was sympathetic with a broad range of gay rights causes and even the concept of unions, as long as nobody used “the M-word.” And environmentalists described being impressed with Romney’s hands-on approach to tackling global warming.
The questioners on Thursday didn’t ask about gay rights. But Romney brought that hotbutton issue up anyway to help make his case.
“I find, for instance, that the discussion of issues related to homosexuality is one of those areas where I’ve been entirely consistent but where people look to see if there’s been some change and there really isn’t,” he said during the lengthy interview, which was live-streamed on the Web.
“I’ve long said we shouldn’t discriminate against people based upon sexual orientation in the workplace and government assignments and so forth,” Romney added. “On the other hand, I’ve always said I‘m opposed to same-sex marriage. That’s been my posture from the very beginning and continues to be my posture.”
Romney was asked about global warming, and why in Massachusetts he backed increased restrictions on power plants but then backed out of a regional climate change compact. It’s an issue on which critics have attacked Romney in recent weeks, saying that he has backed away from his view that humans contributed to climate change.
The candidate, again, cited the issue as evidence of his consistency -- and efforts by opponents to paint him otherwise.
His view, he said, is clear: The world is probably getting warmer (“I don’t know that, but I think there’s some pretty good indications it’s getting warmer”). Humans have played a role (“how much I don’t know”). Therefore, he said, he opposes spending trillions on actions that may or may not work to combat warming.
“That’s not (an) extreme position,” he said, adding later: “My position is frankly, I think, right and reasoned, but requires more than one sentence to answer and therefore now and then can be used as a way to try and mischaracterize my views.”
He did make one concession on the climate change front: “I’m not a scientist, but I’m a politician.”