After telling a reporter on Tuesday that he would not pursue any legislation to restrict abortion, Republican candidate Mitt Romney waved away suspicions Wednesday that his anti-abortion stance is wavering.
"I think I've said time and again, I'm a pro-life candidate," he told reporters at a campaign stop in Ohio according to a pool report. "I'll be a pro-life president. The actions I'll take immediately are to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget."
The former Massachusetts governor also reiterated his plan to reinstate the "Global Gag Rule," which prevents non-governmental organizations overseas that receive U.S. aid money from counseling patients on or referring them to abortion services. The Hyde amendment already prevents those organizations from using U.S. money to pay for abortions.
Romney, who has called Roe v. Wade "one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history," was forced to defend his anti-abortion position on Wednesday after he told the Des Moines Register on Tuesday, "There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda." His campaign walked back his statement within two hours, saying that he would "of course" support legislation aimed at restricting access to abortion.
The Obama campaign accused Romney on Wednesday of being dishonest about his anti-abortion position in order to "close the deal" with female voters.
"He didn't soften these positions, he's trying to hide them," Stephanie Cutter, President Barack Obama's campaign manager, told reporters. "If people believe that he's changed his mind, they should go ahead and ask him."
UPDATE: 5:31 p.m. -- Obama responded to Romney's attempt to moderate his abortion position in an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer on Wednesday.
“This is another example of Governor Romney hiding positions he’s been campaigning on for a year and a half,” Obama said.
Asked whether Romney was lying when he said he wouldn't restrict abortion, Obama said, “No, I actually think … when it comes to women’s rights to control their own health care decisions, you know, what he has been saying is exactly what he believes. He thinks that it is appropriate for politicians to inject themselves in those decisions.”
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99 Problems (JAY-Z)
Eric Fehrnstrom, senior campaign adviser for Mitt Romney, <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/06/03/494238/fehrnstrom-shiny-objects-women/" target="_hplink">said on Sunday</a> that issues pertaining to women's reproductive rights, such as abortion and birth control, were "shiny objects" meant to distract voters from the real issues. "Mitt Romney is pro-life," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "He'll govern as a pro-life president, but you're going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people's attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election."
The Senate will vote Thursday on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would expand and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and make it illegal for employers to punish women for bringing up pay disparity issues. Dana Perino, a Fox News contributor and former press secretary for President George W. Bush, <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/30/perino-equal-pay-issue-is-a-distraction-for-just-48-hours/" target="_hplink">called the equal pay issue</a> "a distraction" from the country's real financial problems last week. "Well, it's just yet another distraction of dealing with the major financial issues that the country should be dealing with," Perino said. "This is not a job creator."
Just My Imagination (The Temptations)
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose home state's legislature recently defunded Planned Parenthood and voted to pass a bill that would allow employers to deny women birth control coverage, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/john-mccain-war-on-women_n_1455591.html" target="_hplink">delivered a floor speech</a> in which he insisted that the war on women is something imaginary for Democrats to "sputter about." "My friends, this supposed 'War on Women' or the use of similarly outlandish rhetoric by partisan operatives has two purposes, and both are purely political in their purpose and effect: The first is to distract citizens from real issues that really matter and the second is to give talking heads something to sputter about when they appear on cable television," he said.
Butterfly Fly Away (Miley & Billy Ray Cyrus)
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tried to trivialize concerns about the legislative "war on women" by comparing it to a "war on caterpillars." "If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we'd have problems with caterpillars," Priebus <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-05/priebus-says-gender-battle-as-fictonal-as-caterpillar-war.html" target="_hplink">said in an April interview</a> on Bloomberg Television. "It's a fiction."
Distraction (Angels And Airwaves)
Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Steelman (R) took heat from her opponents in May when she contended that Democratic lawmakers' focus on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act was "a distraction" from the issues they should be dealing with instead. "I think it's unfortunate that the Democrats have made a political football out of this thing, which I think is what they keep doing to distract from real problems that are facing our nation," she said in an interview with St. Louis Public Radio.
We Don't Care (Kanye West)
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) defended the Republican Party in April for going after insurance coverage for contraception by arguing that women don't actually care about contraception. "Women don't care about contraception," she said on ABC's The View. "They care about jobs and the economy and raising their families and all those other things."