In the category of political revenge arrives a new ad from a Republican gay rights group that, in an effort to damage Mitt Romney, reminds Republican voters of his evolving position on abortion.
The Log Cabin Republicans, who once considered Romney something of an ally, said today it plans to air a TV spot in Iowa and on national cable that shows the former Massachusetts governor debating Senator Edward M. Kennedy during the 1994 Senate campaign.
"I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country," Romney says in the clip. "I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years that we should sustain and support it."
Romney has said he changed his views on abortion after meeting with a Harvard University stem cell researcher in November 2004 and becoming convinced he could not be publicly supportive of abortion rights while being personally opposed to abortion.
Romney has assiduously been courting social conservatives, some of whom remain skeptical because of what critics call flip-flops on gay rights as well as abortion.
Massachusetts members of Log Cabin Republicans have said that Romney told them while he personally opposed same-sex marriage, he would not crusade against it. But after the Supreme Judicial Court legalized gay marriage, he led the charge for a constitutional amendment banning it. During the campaign, he has advocated a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
"For years he's fought conservatives and religious extremists," the announcer declares in the ad, concluding. "A record of fighting the religious right. A pro-choice record. Massachusetts values. Mitt Romney."
Campaign spokesman Kevin Madden issued a response to the ad: "As Governor Romney has repeatedly made clear, like many other Republicans including Ronald Reagan, he wasn't always pro-life. Governor Romney has said he was wrong and hopes he never stops learning from his mistakes or trying to do what's right.
"This personal, negative attack was launched and paid for by a group recognized as having Mayor Giuliani as their 'favorite' candidate. Governor Romney supports a federal marriage amendment and so it makes sense that a national gay rights group would attack him. The advertisement misrepresents Governor Romney's courage to admit that he had been wrong on this issue and the fact that he is proud of his strong record of defending the sanctity of life."