Romney: "I've Still Got The Same Positions On The Issues I Had Four Years Ago"
After scraping out an eight-vote win over Rick Santorum in Tuesday evening's Iowa caucuses, GOP candidate Mitt Romney spent Wednesday morning touring the top a.m. talk shows. When Fox News host Gretchen Carlson suggested that Romney was not among the most conservative GOP candidates — at least, in comparison to Santorum and Newt Gingrich — Romney reminded Carlson that in 2008 he was a 'conservative alternative' to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. "I've still got the same positions on the issues I had four years ago," he argued. "My record as governor and my positions are pretty darn conservative."
CARLSON: Some of the pundits this morning in their analysis, Governor, have said that you actually like the fact that there's a big field of Republicans, that it actually benefits you if nobody drops out right now, because if they do there might be more consolidation for the "more conservative" — their words — candidate like a Rick Santorum or a Newt Gingrich. Do you agree with that?
ROMNEY: You know, I really can't assess who's going to stay in, who's not, what impact that might have politically. I do want people to recall that four years ago Mike Huckabee and I were the conservative alternatives to John McCain, Rudy Giuliani. I've still got the same positions on the issues I had four years ago. My record as governor and my positions are pretty darn conservative, so I'm hoping to get very strong support from conservatives across the country.
Romney's flip-flops are so well known that any claim of consistency raises eyebrows. Some of his biggest about-faces on the issues — notably, abortion — occurred earlier in his career, as he transitioned from a Republican trying to appeal to a Massachusetts electorate to a GOP operative on the national stage, but he has also tweaked his stances over the last four years as the GOP shifts rightward and as the party line on various issues coalesces.
For example, as recently as June 2011, Romney stated, "I believe that humans contribute to" climate change. Now that the GOP has veered sharply into anti-science territory, he's not so sure. And, of course, he's had to dance around the Massachusetts health care reform he signed into law as governor. In 2007, he called the law "fabulous." Now that it's become a model for the unpopular national reform, he's much more reserved, saying that President Obama should have called him to "ask if this was an experiment, what worked and what didn't." According to Romney, he would have told Obama: "What you're doing, Mr. President, is going to bankrupt us."