During his unsuccessful run against Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1994, Mitt Romney decided that he would run on a pro-choice platform after being advised that a pro-life candidate could not win in liberal Massachusetts.
The revelation comes from a new book, “Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and His Politics,” by journalist Ronald Scott. Journalist Byron York reported on Scott’s disclosure in an article published Friday in The Washington Examiner.
“According to Scott, Romney revealed that polling from Richard Wirthlin, Ronald Reagan’s former pollster whom Romney had hired for the ’94 campaign, showed it would be impossible for a pro-life candidate to win statewide office in Massachusetts,” York writes. “In light of that, Romney decided to run as a pro-choice candidate, pledging to support Roe v. Wade, while remaining personally pro-life.”
A Mormon who lives in Boston, Scott has known Romney for decades, and even accompanied him on a trip to explain the abortion stance to church leaders in Utah. According to Scott, Romney made the trip because he “probably was obliged to let them know as a matter of courtesy before he would take some stands on various issues that would raise eyebrows, because he was a fairly important officer of the church.” Romney was also Scott’s stake president, a role in the Mormon church somewhat analogous to that of a bishop in the Catholic church.
It’s no secret that Romney argued forcefully for abortion rights both in 1994 and during his successful run for governor of Massachusetts eight years later. His Republican primary opponents made much out of his apparent “flip flop” on the issue in 2008, and this year the Democratic National Committee has frequently highlighted Romney’s old pro-choice stance in their videos attacking the GOP front-runner.
Columnist Kathleen Parker wrote earlier this year that Romney changed his mind on abortion after meeting with a Stanford biomedical ethics professor in 2005. Romney now describes himself as an “unapologetically pro-life” Republican who would be “delighted” to sign a bill overturning Roe v. Wade.
A Romney spokesperson told The Daily Caller that the campaign had “no comment” on Scott’s book.