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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Obama Campaign Says Romney Is Misleading Voters on Abortion


President Obama's campaign on Wednesday accused Mitt Romney of “cynically and dishonestly” trying to hide his real position on abortion and contraception after the Republican presidential candidate said he could not think of any abortion-related legislation that would be part of his agenda in the White House.

Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Stephanie Cutter, the deputy campaign manager for Mr. Obama, scoffed at those remarks, calling them a desperate attempt to mislead voters about his real intentions on the subject.

“Governor Romney has been dishonest about his plans on issue after issue. Romney's dishonesty on abortion is just one example,” Ms. Cutter said, noting that a sp okeswoman for Mr. Romney quickly reiterated his anti-abortion credentials.

“We're saying he's trying to cover up his beliefs,” Ms. Cutter said. “They know that his anti-choice position, his anti-Roe v. Wade position, is bad for his campaign.”

Mr. Romney made the comments about abortion during a discussion with the editorial board of The Des Moines Register in Iowa. Campaign officials have said he was answering a specific question about abortion legislation but that he remains committed to an anti-abortion agenda.

“Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and he will be a pro-life president,” Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Mr. Romney, said in an e-mail.

Earlier, Ms. Saul had told The National Review Online that Mr. Romney would “of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.”

Mr. Obama's campaign described the different answers about abortion from Mr. Romney's campaign as part of a broader effort by the Republican candidate to hide his more conservative views from centrist voters who will help decide the election next month.

Ms. Cutter alleged that Mr. Romney had taken a similar approach on other issues in the last week, including tax cuts, changes to Mr. Obama's health care law and benefits under Medicare.

Asked about how the campaign will communicate that message to women, Ms. Cutter was not specific, but said that “we'll remind them about the real Mitt Romney and the positions he's taken over the last six years.”

Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, also spoke to reporters on the call. She noted that there were at least two dozen pieces of legislation proposed by Republicans in Congress that would restrict abortion rights.

“The Romney campaign is trying so hard to mislead people, especially women,” Ms. Richards said, adding that she had taken a leave from her job at Planned Parenthood to vol unteer for Mr. Obama's campaign.

Ms. Richards said that Mr. Romney's record proved that he would push anti-abortion legislation as president despite what he told The Des Moines Register.

“There's no way for him to hide form the positions he's taken repeatedly over the years,” she said. “I don't think this is about flip-flopping. This is about trying to distance himself from the positions he's taken repeatedly.”

Follow Michael D. Shear on Twitter at @shearm.