In the cover story to this week’s National Review the chief political adviser to Republican Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney said the governor is a “pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly” in order to win election in Massachusetts. After all, the conventional wisdom says, a pro-lifer can’t win statewide office in this bluest of blue states (which I don’t think is true.)
Today, that adviser, Michael Murphy, is saying that he was misunderstood. Murphy claims that what he meant to say was that Romney told voters in 2002 that he was “personally opposed, but…” he would not changes the abortion laws of the commonwealth and has kept that promise. It’s an easy promise to keep since the Legislature and courts weren’t going to give him an opportunity to change the law.
But the larger picture is that Romney has been flitting about the country giving speeches to Republican groups where he sounds very different when talking about abortion. In fact, he almost sounds like a dyed-in-the-wool pro-lifer. Everyone says that despite his protestations he’s positioning himself for a run for president in 2008, and GOP nominees must generally be pro-life (more or less, usually less).