Earlier today, the blogosphere exploded when the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent reported that “Jim Heath, a reporter for ONN-TV in Ohio, just Tweeted a remarkable piece of news: Mitt Romney told him he does not support the Blunt amendment, which would empower employers and insurers to deny health coverage they find morally objectionable.”
Romney’s spokesperson Andrea Saul released the following statement, to clarify:
Regarding the Blunt bill, the way the question was asked was confusing. Governor Romney supports the Blunt Bill because he believes in a conscience exemption in health care for religious institutions and people of faith.
For the sake of context, here is a longer transcript of the conversation:
HEATH: “He’s brought contraception into this campaign. The issue of birth control, contraception, Blunt-Rubio is being debated, I believe, later this week. It deals with banning or allowing employers to ban providing female contraception. Have you taken a position on it? He (Santorum) said he was for that, we’ll talk about personhood in a second; but he’s for that, have you taken a position?”
ROMNEY: “I’m not for the bill, but look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a women, husband and wife, I’m not going there.”
HEATH: “Surprised that he went there?”
ROMNEY: “You know, I made it very clear when I was being interviewed by George Stephanopoulos in a debate a while ago: contraception is working just fine, let’s just leave it alone.”
HEATH: “And the Personhood Amendment could potentially be on the ballot in Ohio this fall. What’s your position on this effort, Personhood?”
ROMNEY: “Well it’s interpreted differently by different states, so I’d have to look at the particular provision. We had a provision in my state that said that life began at conception, that’s a provision that I protected. The legislature passed a bill saying that no longer would life be determined to begin at conception, I vetoed that. So we can have a provision that describes life beginning when it in fact begins. At the same time, allowing people to have contraceptives.”
I can’t believe that Romney would consciously oppose the Blunt amendment. That just doesn’t make sense. A more likely scenario is that he was confused and/or was attempting to dodge the question.
Update: Watch an excerpt of the video:
Update: Romney says he misunderstood: