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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 12/10/2007

Most Revealing Fibs: Mitt Romney

By Michael Dobbs

Speaking to students in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, November 2007.

"Obviously, my position did change with regards to life. But on other issues, my positions have been very consistent with my principles and my views."
--Mitt Romney, CBS "Face the nation," September 21, 2007.

Of all the candidates, both Republican and Democratic, the former Massachusetts governor is most vulnerable to the charge of being a "flip-flopper." He has attempted to immunize himself from this accusation by making a virtue out of necessity, and acknowledging his most blatant U-turn, on protecting the right to abortions. But an examination of his record shows that his positions have changed on a wide variety of other issues, from immigration to gay rights to gun control.

A few examples:

  • In a 1994 letter to the Log Cabin Republicans, who advocate gay rights, Romney said he was in favor of "gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly" in the military. He now says it would be a mistake to interfere with the "don't ask, don't tell policy."

  • While campaigning for the governorship of Massachusetts in 2002, he said he would not "chip away" at the state's tough gun laws. He signed up for "lifelong membership" of the National Rifle Association in 2006, while contemplating a run for the Republican nomination.

  • In 2005, appeared to favor immigration reform, along the lines proposed by Sen. John McCain. He now denounces it as an "amnesty plan."

  • The recent discovery by the Boston Globe that illegal immigrants continued to mow his lawn a year after the matter was first brought to his attention opens him up to the the charge of hypocrisy.

    Romney's positions on abortion have shifted more frequently than he cares to admit, hardening during the primaries as he went after Republican votes and moving to the center during the general election. To claim that his positions are "consistent with my principles and my views" is a tautology that conceals the deeper truth that his views and principles have a habit of changing with the political season.

    It is also a stretch for Romney to claim that he lowered taxes while Governor of Massachusetts. See my post here.

    The Pinocchio Test

    It is still too early to rank the candidates in terms of their overall truthfulness. I have handed out Pinocchios to all the candidates for individual statements that seem at variance with the facts, but will give them a pass this week. Let me know any other areas where Romney has not been honest about his record.

    By Michael Dobbs  | December 10, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
    Categories:  Candidate Record, Candidate Watch, Economy, Immigration, Social Issues  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Most Revealing Fibs: Hillary Clinton
    Next: Most Revealing Fibs: John Edwards

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