Cover Story

The many Mitts

"The many Mitts" Continued...

Issue: "Focus on Mitt Romney," July 16, 2011

Anne Fox of Massachusetts Citizens for Life also said her group found Romney's staff accessible and easy to work with during his tenure. But Fox-who endorsed Republican Sam Brownback in the last GOP nominating contest-said she's disappointed that Massachusetts Commonwealth Care helps subsidize abortion. A Massachusetts court ruling mandated that any state-covered healthcare must cover abortion, but Fox and other pro-life advocates say it's troubling. "I'm not saying it's [Romney's] fault," says Fox. "But with this kind of program, these things are inherent, and we're learning that now."

Though Romney is a well-vetted candidate, there's still more to learn. Conservatives will likely ask more questions about issues like his support for ethanol subsidies, and how his belief in global warming would affect his policy.

Many evangelicals will ask how Romney's Mormon beliefs affect his approach to policy, and consider whether they would support a Mormon for the presidency (for a debate on that point, see p. 39). Meanwhile, the candidate may grapple with how much he should address the subject he mostly avoids in public.

Romney will also likely try to cultivate his image as a candidate who can connect with struggling Americans. During a recent chat with a group of unemployed citizens at a campaign stop, the multimillionaire quipped: "I'm also unemployed." Though the group laughed, the joke may have sounded tone-deaf. Romney chuckled, but his next statement was no joke for a man who seems determined to work hard: "I have my sight on a particular job."

Mixed oaths?

Romney counters one pro-life pledge with another of his own

By Jamie Dean

If Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was looking for an opportunity to prove his pro-life credentials to skeptical Republicans, signing a pro-life group's "presidential pledge" could be tempting. But the former Massachusetts governor raised eyebrows instead by declaring: He's thoroughly pro-life-and he's not signing the pledge.

The Susan B. Anthony List, a private foundation that promotes pro-life candidates, asked Republican presidential hopefuls to sign a pledge declaring their pro-life commitment in nominating judges, appointing cabinet positions, de-funding abortion providers, and advancing legislation to protect unborn children capable of feeling pain.

While most of the GOP candidates signed the document, at least two declined: Romney and former Godfather's Pizza executive Herman Cain. Reaction was swift, mostly focused on Romney: GOP candidate and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum said he was "stunned" at Romney's refusal.

Romney didn't retreat. Instead, he penned his own pro-life pledge, explaining his objections to a particular piece of the Susan B. Anthony document that reads: "Advance pro-life legislation to permanently end all taxpayer funding of abortion in all domestic and international spending programs, and defund Planned Parenthood and all other contractors and recipients of federal funds with affiliates that fund or perform abortions."

Did that mean defunding every hospital system that performs abortions? Romney said that he supports defunding Planned Parenthood, but added: "It's one thing to end federal funding for an organization liked Planned Parenthood; it is entirely another to end all federal funding for thousands of hospitals across America."

Romney said he was also uncomfortable with the pledge's requirements for exclusively pro-life appointments to certain cabinet and executive branch positions, saying it "unduly burdens a president's ability to appoint the most qualified individuals to a broad array of key positions in the federal government."

It's unclear whether Romney's discomfort with the fine print's broad implications will satisfy voters, but the candidate-who believes abortion should be limited to cases of rape, incest, or saving the life of the mother-said he supported a slew of other pro-life ambitions: reversing Roe v. Wade, upholding the Hyde Amendment, reinstating the Mexico City policy, and advocating laws to protect unborn children from pain.

Jamie Dean
Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the national political beat and other topics as news editor for WORLD. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

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