Speaking to reporters after Saturday’s Republican primary debate in New Hampshire, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Republican voters would be wise to question front-runner Mitt Romney’s conservative credentials.
“This is a candidate without any conviction at all, willing to say or do anything to get elected,” she said. “Tonight he talked about how supportive he was of overturning Roe v. Wade, yet just in 2002 he was a candidate for governor who was totally supportive of Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose. I mean, that’s a pretty significant issue to have such a major flip-flop.”
“I think Republican voters need to ask themselves whether Massachusetts elected a conservative Republican candidate for governor,” she continued.
Romney’s perceived insincerity has been a major focus of criticism since he first ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. During his two campaigns for statewide office in traditionally Democratic Massachusetts — for the U.S. Senate in 1994 and for governor in 2002 — Romney ran as a moderate, pro-choice Republican.
After leaving office in 2007 and setting his sights on the presidency, however, Romney moved to the right and left many conservatives wondering if his views on issues like abortion were heartfelt or simply a matter of convenience.
Wasserman Schultz’s comments indicate that Democrats will pick up the “flip-flopper” meme if Romney should win his party’s nomination. But by attempting to exacerbate the divide between Romney and the Republican base, they also re-enforce the notion that President Obama’s allies see his as the strongest and most threatening candidate in the GOP field.
“At this point he’s certainly done everything he can to get as far to the right as possible,” she said when asked by a reporter whether Democrats would try to portray Romney as a conservative Republican in the general election. “He’s embraced extremism, he’s embraced the tea party, so he certainly needs to be held accountable for the things he’s saying now.”
“He’ll be held accountable for the Mitt Romney who ran in 1992 and the Mitt Romney who ran in 1994,” she continued. “You never know which Mitt Romney you’ll be running against, but we’ll be running against them all.”