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GOP2012: Republican debate, January 7th, 2012
The Reality
Fact Check

The left and right have recognized Romney as a flip-flopper

November 09, 2011 at 9:04 P.M.

Tonight, Mitt Romney said, “I’m a man of steadiness and constancy.” But as recently as yesterday, conservatives weighed in on Romney’s “steadiness and constancy,” with one noting that Romney “is a man devoid of any principles other than getting himself elected.” And who can blame them? With ever-changing positions on abortion, climate change, Afghanistan, and many, many others it’s clear – even Republicans know Mitt Romney will say and stand for anything to get elected.


Red State Blogger And CNN Contributor Erick Erickson: Mitt Romney Is “A Man Devoid Of Any Principles Other Than Getting Himself Elected.” “Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is a man devoid of any principles other than getting himself elected. As much as the American public does not like Barack Obama, they loath a man so fueled with ambition that he will say or do anything to get himself elected. Mitt Romney is that man.” [Red State, 11/8/11]

George Will: Romney Is “A Recidivist Reviser Of His Principles.” “Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable, he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate: Republican successes down the ticket will depend on the energies of the Tea Party and other conservatives, who will be deflated by a nominee whose blurry profile in caution communicates only calculated trimming.” [George Will, Washington Post, 10/28/11]

National Review: Romney “Bounces Around” On Issues By “What He Thinks The Next Election’s Voters Want To Hear.” Deroy Murdock wrote in the National Review, “This little episode proves that Romney is less tethered than a soccer ball at the World Cup. He bounces around, not thanks to his own compass, but in reaction to forces that encircle him — first and foremost what he thinks the next election’s voters want to hear… In contrast — from abortion to spending to taxes to guns — Romney keeps shifting, just like the political pressures that toss him this way and that. Compared to Willard Mitt Romney, I have seen mannequins in less empty suits.” [National Review, 2/11/11]

Vennochi: “Romney’s Position Revolves Around Where Romney Is In His Political Career.” In a Boston Globe op-ed, Vennochi wrote “The Road to the White House gets rocky when you’re a Massachusetts flip flopper…Romney says his abortion stance “has evolved.” You might say it ‘revolved.’ Romney’s position revolves around where Romney is in his political career: in the Bay State, or beyond. [Boston Globe, 3/2/06]


“Romney Is Running As The New Rorschach. He Runs From His Own Record, Seems To Be For Everything Before He Was Against Everything, Unless He Says Nothing.” “Does Mitt Romney have anything to say about the great issue of the hour? He remains in seclusion, hiding from the debate, silent about his views, weak and timid and vacillating. What a pathetic performance from a man who aspires to the presidency who looks like the worst of Obama without the best. Romney is running as the new Rorschach. He runs from his own record, seems to be for everything before he was against everything, unless he says nothing.” [Hill, 7/29/11]

Romney’s “Practically A Flip-Flopping Legend” He’s “Like A Box Of Chocolates – You Never Know What You’re Going To Get.”“We’re talking about a man who’s practically a flip-flopping legend. Romney has demonstrated a willingness to flip-flop like no other American politician in a generation. Romney was a pro-choice supporter of gay rights, gun control, and comprehensive immigration reform. He’s reversed course on everything from economic stimulus to health care, the auto-industry rescue to foreign policy. Mitt Romney is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get.” [Benen, Washington Monthly, 6/9/11]



JUNE: Romney Posted His Support Of Gov. Kasich’s Laws Against Unions. “My friends in Ohio are fighting to defend crucial reforms that the state has put in place to limit the power of union bosses and keep taxes low. I stand with John R. Kasich and Ohio’s leaders as they take on this important fight to get control of government spending. Please visit for more information.” [Romney, Facebook, 6/18/11] ·

  • OCTOBER: Romney Said Of The Ohio Ballot Initiatives: “I’m Not Terribly Familiar With The Two Ballot Initiatives.” Romney said of the Ohio ballot initiatives: “I’m not speaking about the particular ballot issues, those are under the people of Ohio but I certainly support the effort of the governor to reign in the scale of government. So I’m not terribly familiar with the two ballot initiatives but I certainly supportive of the Republican Party’s effort here.” [Romney, Cincinnati OH, 10/25/11] · 
  • NEXT DAY: Romney: “I’m Sorry If I Created Any Confusion… With Regards To Question 2 Which Is The Collective Bargaining Question, I Am 110 Percent Behind Gov. Kasich In Support Of That, That Question.” “I'm sorry if I created any confusion in that regard. I fully support Gov. Kasich’s, I think it’s called question 2 in Ohio. Fully support that… But with regards to question 2 which is the collective bargaining question I am 110 percent behind Gov. Kasich in support of that, that question.” [Romney Presser, Fairfax VA, 10/26/11]


Romney Wants To Overturn Roe V. Wade. Romney said, “I would love to see an America where there was no abortion. But that’s not where the American people are. What I do want to see, and where I think the American people are today, is to see a conservative jurist on the Supreme Court and to see Roe v. Wade overturned.” [Associated Press, 10/13/07] ·

  • 1994: Romney on Roe v. Wade: “I Do Not Want To Change It, Overturn It, Reverse It.” “Romney has said he supports Roe v. Wade, the landmark case establishing a woman’s right to an abortion, though he does not favor federal funding of abortions except where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or threatens the life of the mother. ‘(It) has been the law of the land for over 20 years, and I do not want to change it, overturn it, reverse it. I want it to remain the law of the land,’ Romney said of Roe v Wade.” [Boston Herald, 5/19/94]


FLIP: Romney: “It Is My Desire And My Political Party’s Desire To Support The People Of Afghanistan And Not To Leave.” “Although the media have not been invited to his events, a glimpse into Romney’s thinking was provided by an individual who attended the meeting between Romney and the young Afghans and who allowed a reporter to view a video of the event. At one point, Romney said he supports a longer-term US presence in Afghanistan and asked Afghans for their own suggestions about how the United States can help overcome the raging insurgency and endemic corruption here. President Obama’s administration has said it plans to begin reducing the number of US troops in July with the goal of handing over security to the Afghans by the end of 2014. ‘It is my desire and my political party’s desire to support the people of Afghanistan and not to leave,’ Romney said in response to a question about whether the United States was going to pull out of the country soon. ‘So we look to you to tell us the best ways that we can support you.’” [Boston Globe, 1/14/11] · 

  • FLOP: Romney’s Went Middle Of The Road On President Obama’s Announcement Of Troop Reductions In Afghanistan Saying “We All Want Out Troops To Come Home As Soon As Possible.” “Some of the leading Republican presidential candidates offered dramatically different reactions to President Obama’s announcement of troop reductions in Afghanistan, a reflection of the schism in the Republican Party over the future of the war… Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, is somewhere in the middle. In a statement, Mr. Romney said that ‘we all want our troops to come home as soon as possible,’ but he stopped short of praising Mr. Obama’s speech.” [New York Times, 6/23/11] · 
  • Romney Said Of Afghanistan: “I Also Think We’ve Learned That Our Troops Shouldn’t Go Off And Try To Fight A War Of Independence For Another Nation.” At the New Hampshire Republican primary debate Romney said of Afghanistan: “I also think we've learned that our troops shouldn't go off and try and fight a war of independence for another nation. Only the Afghanis can win Afghanistan's independence from the Taliban.” [New Hampshire Debate, 6/13/11


FLIP: Romney Criticized President Obama’s Announcement Of A Troop Withdrawal Timeline In Afghanistan Saying “The Taliban May Not Have Watches, But They Do Have Calendars.” “Romney praised the decision to send additional troops to Afghanistan, but criticized President Obama’s announcement of when troops will withdraw. ‘The Taliban may not have watches, but they do have calendars,’ Romney said.” [Boston Globe, 6/3/11] ·

  • FLOP: Romney: “The Generals Actually Concur With The Idea That We Should Bring Down The Surge Troops And Ultimately By 2014, Take Our Footprint - Our Large Combat Footprint Out Of Afghanistan, That’s Something With Which I Concur.” On Moring Joe, Mitt Romney said: “The generals actually concur with the idea that we should bring down the surge troops, and ultimately by 2014, take our footprint -- our large combat footprint out of Afghanistan, that's something with which I concur.” [Morning Joe, MSNBC, 9/28/11]


Romney: 12 Million Illegal Immigrants Should Not Be Allowed to Stay Permanently. At the ABC GOP Debate on January 5, 2008, Romney said: “I disagree fundamentally that the 12 million people who come here illegally, should be allowed to stay here permanently. I think that is a form of amnesty and that it’s not appropriate.” [NH ABC Debate, 1/5/08] ·

  • PREVIOUSLY: Romney: It’s Not “Practical Or Economic For The Country” To Deport 12 Million Illegal Immigrants. “Romney also said in the interview that it was not ‘practical or economic for the country’ to deport the estimated 12 million immigrants living in the US illegally. ‘These people contribute in many cases to our economy and to our society,’ he said. ‘In some cases, they do not. But that’s a whole group we’re going to have to determine how to deal with.’” [Boston Globe, 3/16/07]


Romney Became The First Governor In The Nation To Sign A Permanent Ban On Assault Weapons Calling Them “Instruments Of Destruction With The Sole Purpose Of Hunting Down And Killing People.” “But perhaps the most significant gun legislation Romney signed as governor was a 2004 measure instituting a permanent ban on assault weapons. The Legislature mirrored the law after the federal assault weapons ban, which was set to expire. According to activists at the time, the bill made Massachusetts the first state to enact its own such ban, and Romney hailed the move. These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense," he was quoted as saying. ‘They areinstruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.’” [Boston Globe, 1/14/07] ·

  • Romney: “I Do Not Support Any New Legislation Of An Assault Weapon Ban Nature, Including That Against Semiautomatic Weapons.” Romney said, “And so we signed that in Massachusetts, and I said I’d -- I would would support that at the federal level, just as the president said he would. It did not pass at the federal level. I do not believe we need new legislation. I do not support any new legislation of an assault weapon ban nature, including that against semiautomatic weapons. I instead believe that we have laws in place that, if they’re implemented and enforced, will provide the protection and the safety of the American people. But I do not support any new legislation, and I do support the right of individuals to bear arms, whether for hunting purposes or for protection purposes or any other reasons. That’s the right that people have.” [Florida Atlantic University Debate, 1/24/08]


1994: Romney Supported Allowing Gays And Lesbians “To Serve Openly And Honestly In Our Nation’s Military.” “Clinton’s don’t ask/don’t tell policy on gays in the military is a fine first step, Mitt muses, but must ‘ultimately lead to gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly in our nation’s military’ - a prospect that causes military professionals to cringe.” [Boston Herald, 10/20/94] ·

  • Romney Said He Supported Maintaining Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Asked if he stood by a letter he wrote to the Log Cabin Republicans in 1994 where he indicated that he could support allowing GLBT individuals to serve in the military, Romney replied, “As for military policy and the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, I trust the counsel of those in uniform who have set these policies over a dozen years ago. I agree with President Bush’s decision to maintain this policy and I would do the same.” [National Review Online, 12/14/06]


Romney Said Cap And Trade “Tax” Dissuaded “Expansion By Employers In The Energy Sector.” Romney wrote, “Promoting an open-ended cap-and-trade tax dissuades expansion by employers in the energy sector.” [Romney Op-Ed, Boston Globe, 8/18/10] ·

  • 2005: Romney Endorsed Regional Cap And Trade System, Saying "This Is A Great Thing For The Commonwealth ... We Can Effectively Create Incentives To Help Stimulate A Sector Of The Economy And At The Same Time Not Kill Jobs. ... I’m Convinced It Is Good Business." "Governor Mitt Romney signaled his support yesterday for a regional agreement among Northeastern states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, despite opposition from power companies and other business interests that have been lobbying the administration against the plan. In opening remarks to a clean-energy conference in Boston, Romney said the first-of-its-kind agreement, under which Massachusetts and eight other states could be required to cut power plant emissions by 2020, will not hurt the economy, as some have charged. He argued that it would spur businesses to develop clean -- and renewable-energy technology to market worldwide. ‘This is a great thing for the Commonwealth,’ Romney said, his strongest endorsement of the pact to date. ‘We can effectively create incentives to help stimulate a sector of the economy and at the same time not kill jobs.’... Romney said yesterday that he had some concerns about the agreement, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, but he endorsed this and other clean-energy initiatives by saying they would stimulate the development of technology that Massachusetts companies could sell to other states and countries, as the emphasis on climate change grows. ‘I’m convinced it is good business,’ Romney said." [Boston Globe, 11/8/05] ·
  • Romney In 2003: "Now Is The Time To Take Action Toward Climate Protection ... Our Joint Work To Create A Flexible Market-Based Regional Cap And Trade System Could Serve As An Effective Approach To Meeting These Goals.” “In another nod to environmentalists, Gov. Mitt Romney has joined with New York Gov. George Pataki in a plan to limit greenhouse gases from Northeast power plants. In a July 21 letter to Mr. Pataki, Mr. Romney acknowledged that carbon dioxide emissions are harming the environment and agreed to help design a regional emissions cap for power generating plants. Mr. Pataki last spring invited New England and mid-Atlantic state governors to spend two years on a plan to bring about significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. ‘I concur that climate change is beginning to affect our natural resources and that now is the time to take action toward climate protection,’ the governor wrote. ‘I share your interest in ensuring that the economic and security contributions made by our electricity generating system are not negated by the impact of emissions from that system on the health of our citizens,’ he continued… ‘Our joint work to create a flexible market-based regional cap and trade system could serve as an effective approach to meeting these goals,’ Mr. Romney wrote in the letter.” [Telegram & Gazette [Worcester, MA], 8/6/03]


Romney: The Democrats Stimulus “Will Accelerate The Timing Of The Start Of The Recovery.” According to the Boston Phoenix, Romney wrote in his book that “A stimulus package ‘was called for’ after the late-2008 economic downturn, and the Democrats’ stimulus ‘will accelerate the timing of the start of the recovery.’” [Boston Phoenix, 2/10/10] ·

  • Romney Called The Stimulus Package A Failure And Said The President Made The Economy Worse. “Romney was in Utah to be a part of the grand opening of the APX Alarms new headquarters in Provo. After a ribbon cutting, he posed for pictures with supporters and told reporters the president has the economy all wrong. ‘This 10 percent unemployment is an albatross around the president’s neck,’ said Romney. ‘Other president’s have inherited recessions before, but this president didn’t make it better, he made it worse.’ Romney also said the stimulus package was a failure. ‘The president indicated that his stimulus would hold unemployment to 8 percent, and that if he didn’t pass the stimulus of almost a trillion dollars it would go to 10 percent. Well, we went to 10 percent. So it was a bad miscalculation that’s going to cost the American people a lot.’” [KSL, 12/3/09]
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