Romney: '110 Percent' Behind Ohio Labor Law
FAIRFAX, VA -- Mitt Romney apologized Wednesday for declining to take a position on a ballot question in Ohio that would uphold a law rolling back collective bargaining rights for public employees.
"I'm sorry if I created any confusion in that regard," Romney said at a Fairfax event to rally support for Virginia Republicans ahead of their state and local elections next month. "I fully support Gov. [John] Kasich's, I think it's called Question 2."
The previous day Romney had refused to say that he supported the measure despite repeated questioning, even though he had already come out in support of the law -- which is actually titled Issue 2 -- earlier this year.
"I am not speaking about the particular ballot issues," Romney said during the visit to Ohio Tuesday. "Those are up to the people of Ohio."
The former Massachusetts governor said his words Tuesday were shaped by his stance toward another ballot question -- Issue 3 -- that would allow Ohio to opt out of President Obama's health care law that was passed in 2010. The measure would amend the state constitution to prevent the federal and state government from requiring that individuals purchase health insurance, which is a key component of Obama's health law.
Romney himself has made repealing Obamacare a core piece of his campaign, but said he did not want to take a position on the ballot question because decisions on health care mandates "should be up to individual states."
But as for the collective bargaining measure, which polls show is likely to be repealed by Ohio voters, Romney sought to make where he stood particularly clear.
"I am 110 percent behind Gov. Kasich and in support of that," he said.
Romney did not answer questions from The Huffington Post about why he does not support allowing states to opt out of Obama's health law. He has come under fire from challenger Rick Perry, the Texas governor also running for the Republican presidential nomination, for flip-flopping.
UPDATE AT 12:05 P.M.:
Romney appeared at the event with Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell in a suburban office park to talk with campaign volunteers at a phone bank. Romney made one call to a potential voter named Salvatore, but it went to voicemail. He left a message and asked the voter to support Republicans up and down the ticket on Nov. 8.
McDonnell, who has spoken favorably of Perry in the past, did not endorse Romney but did have warm praise for him and bolstered him on the issues that matter most: the economy and jobs.
"Gov. Romney gets it when it comes to free enterprise," McDonnell said, lauding Romney for having "a marvelous record of achievement at Bain capital ... creating wealth and jobs and opportunity for people."
Romney was also asked about Perry's flat tax proposal that he unveiled Tuesday. He did not respond in great detail but said that his plan to cut taxes on capital gains and dividends for people making less than $250,000 a year is better for middle-income Americans.
"My view is that a key to the tax policy is to reduce the tax burden on the people who have been hurt most by the Obama economy, and that's the middle class," Romney said.
Romney promised more details on his tax plan at some point in the future.
"I'll lay out some additional ways to make the tax code more flat," he said.
UPDATE AT 3:15 P.M.:
The Perry campaign mocked Romney soon afterward, announcing they were awarding "a 10.0 on the flip-flop scale to Mitt Romney for his less-than-24-hour switch on supporting right-to-work reforms enacted by Ohio Governor John Kasich."