Here's Mitt Romney on abortion in 2002 in a gubernatorial debate against Democrat Shannon O'Brien:
"I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard. I will not change any provisions of Massachusetts's pro-choice laws and with regards to this issue of age of consent it is currently 18-years old. If one wants to have an abortion younger than that, one must have the permission of one parent and if a parent doesn't go along one can go to a judge or justice and get that permission. And so far, in Massachusetts history when a young woman has gone to a judge, not one single time has there been a denial of that permission. And so I am in favor of retaining or current law which is the age of consent remaining at 18 and I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose."
Romney vehemently denied that he had accepted the endorsement of Massachusetts Citizens for Life in his 1994 senate race against Ted Kennedy. According to Romney, the group endorsed him without his knowledge and he would not own that endorsement (though O'Brien claimed his campaign spokesperson confirmed the endorsement). She quoted Ted Kennedy who said of Romney,
"He's not pro-choice, he's not anti-choice, he's multiple choice."
Toward the end to the debate his opponent, who was accusing him of not being pro-choice enough, while Romney kept insisting he was the every bit as pro-choice as she was, finally said,
"You don't have a record, it's one of waffling."The more things change, the more they stay the same. Romney proves he is a masterful and convincing debater. He uses the same bullying and avoidance techniques he used against Rick Perry in the recent GOP debates. I'm certainly convinced that in this debate he's pro-abortion and would "defend a woman's right to choose." After all, the 2002 gubernatorial election was riding on it.
Of course, Romney has since changed his position on abortion and will now just as convincingly argue for the pro-life position and any other conservative position that will win him this election. Again, he's a masterful debater.
But that's what's troubling. With so many "waffles" and flip-flops on major policy issues - major conservative policy issues - how do we know when Romney is debating for sport to win an election and when he is debating out of heartfelt conviction? If we're seeing the former in these debates and this is merely a contest to be won, on election day Zorro will drop his mask and we'll find out if we get Romney 1.0, Romney 2.0, or some morph of the two. I fear it will be something really bad like that new Coke. (If you're under 30 you'll have to click on the link you understand the dated cultural reference.) Beware the backlash.