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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 02/ 5/2008

Who is the Champion Flip-flopper?

By Michael Dobbs

It was one of the most devastating TV ads of the 2004 presidential campaign. To the tune of the "Blue Danube" waltz, the Democratic candidate was shown tacking his windsurf board left, then right, then left again while an announcer commented sarcastically, "John Kerry, whichever way the wind blows."

As the primary season comes to a climax in the 2008 campaign, the two leading GOP candidates are invoking the waltz and windsurfing images to gain some vital last minute traction. John McCain and Mitt Romney have both issued web ads, modeled on the George W. Bush 2004 ad, seeking to pin the "biggest flip-flopper" on their rival and exploit a perceived weakness.

Political analysts say that both Romney and McCain are vulnerable to the "flip-flop" charge for different reasons. "Flip-flopper" has become part of Romney's political identity, with the candidate changing positions on such core issues as abortion, gun control, and immigration. The Arizona senator, meanwhile, has presented himself as a "straight talker," so the perception that he is in the same league as Romney when it comes to flip-flopping could be highly damaging.

The McCain ad uses the Strauss waltz for background music and superimposes a photograph of Romney's head on a cartoon of a windsurfer. "Where does Mitt Romney stand?" asks the announcer, after claiming that the former Massachusetts governor changed his position on supporting the George Bush tax cuts. "Whichever way the wind blows."

Entitled "Waltz," the Romney ad dispenses with the windsurfer image but shows McCain justifying his change of position on the Bush tax cuts to the background of the "Blue Danube" music. A caption then flashes across the screen, "John McCain. Always for Tax Cuts...Except when he's against them."

Choosing a winner in the flip-flop wars is not easy. An examination of the record shows that both Romney and McCain have changed their position on key issues important to GOP voters, such as taxes and immigration. Romney's changes of heart have arguably been the more spectacular, raising questions about the candidate's core convictions, but McCain has changed his position more than he is usually prepared to admit.

"You have to distinguish between the quantity and the quality of the flip-flops," argued Jennifer Duffy, a veteran analyst for the Cook Political Report. She says that Romney's flip-flops have been on "big issues for Republican voters," such as abortion. She said that McCain was trying to "reach out to establishment Republicans" by stressing issues like sealing the border, but had not "fundamentally changed his views" on immigration reform and other matters.

Nachama Soloveichik, communications director for the Club for Growth, a free market think tank and lobby group, said that Romney came across as "more sincere" than McCain on the issue of the Bush tax cuts, of paramount concern to many conservatives. She said that the Arizona senator had sounded "like Ted Kennedy" in 2001, when he opposed the tax cuts on the grounds that they helped the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.

"He is trying to have it both ways," said Soloveichik. "It's hard to take him seriously when he says he is going to fight to make the Bush cuts permanent. He was front and center opposing them."

The issue of flip-flopping came up repeatedly during the Florida primary and the run-up to Super Tuesday. Speaking in Jacksonville, McCain sarcastically praised Romney for his consistency. "He's consistently taken both sides of any major issue. He has consistently flip-flopped on every issue."

Not to be outdone, Romney shot back that McCain was "against the Bush tax cuts. Now he's for making them permanent. He was for McCain-Kennedy [immigration reform based on giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.] Now he's for a new program on immigration. He's changed his view on issue after issue. He was against ethanol, then for it, then against it again."

Romney supporters argue that McCain's flip-flops have largely gone under the public radar because they conflict with the "straight shooter" narrative accepted and promoted by the media. A list of McCain changes of position compiled by the Washington Post includes issues such as taxes, immigration, the religious Right, Roe vs. Wade, and ethanol. McCain has moved toward mainstream Republican positions on all these issues, embracing the Reaganite philosophy that tax cuts always lead to higher revenues.

The senator has sought to disguise his flip-flop on the Bush tax cuts by arguing that the main reason he opposed them at the time was that they were not accompanied by cuts on government spending. This was not the explanation he gave at the time, however. In his May 2001 Senate Floor speech opposing the tax cuts, he said he could not "in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle class Americans who most need tax relief."

Romney's flip-flops have been well-documented over the last few months, notably his changes of heart on abortion, which have closely tracked the voters he was targeting in various political campaigns. While he has acknowledged moving to "pro-life" views from "an effectively pro-choice position," Romney has glossed over various steps he took as governor of Massachusetts, including ordering all state hospitals to make the "morning after" pill available to rape victims over the objections of anti-abortion activists.

Romney's flip-flops have so angered some of his former supporters that they have established websites to chronicle his changes of heart. Groups that he once courted that are now sharply critical of him include the Log Cabin Republicans, a Republican Gay Rights Group, and the abortion rights organization Planned Parenthood, which is offering "flip-flopper from Massachusetts" merchandise on its website.

In the end, says veteran political analyst Stu Rothenberg, the flip-flopper tag may pose a bigger problem for Romney than McCain, if only because the Arizona senator starts off with "the image of being a straight shooter."

"Some charges stick and other's don't," said Rothenberg. "McCain hasn't been entirely successful in rebutting Romney's charges. Having said that, given the way the race has developed, Romney is not the most credible messenger to accuse McCain of flip-flopping."

Top Romney Flip Flops

1. Abortion
In October 2002, campaigning for governorship of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney said he would "preserve and protect" a woman's right to choose. He now describes himself as opposing abortion.

2. Gay Rights
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."

3. Gun Control
Campaigning for the Senate in 1994, Romney said he favored strong gun laws and did not "line up with the NRA." He signed up for "lifetime membership" of the NRA in August 2006 while pondering a presidential run, praising the group for "doing good things" and "supporting the right to bear arms."

4. Campaign Finance
In 1994, Romney advocated a spending limit on congressional elections and abolition of political action committees. In 2002, he supported public financing of campaigns from a 10 percent tax on private fund-raising. In 2008, he attacked the McCain-Feingold law limiting campaign contributions as an attack on free speech.

5. Immigration
In a November 2005 interview with the Boston Globe, he described immigration reform proposal advanced by McCain as "reasonable." He now denounces it as an "amnesty plan." In December 2006, he signed agreement authorizing state troopers to round up illegal immigrants.

Top McCain Flip Flops

1. Taxes
McCain was one of two Republican senators to vote against the Bush tax cuts of 2001, saying that he coult not support a tax cut that went to rich Americans rather than middle class Americans. He now favors making the tax cuts permanent.

2. Religious Right
During the 2002 election campaign, McCain attacked Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as "agents of intolerance." He withdrew that remark in a 2006 interview with Meet the Press, saying that the Christian Right had a "major role to play in the Republican party."

3. Immigration
Last year, McCain sponsored a bill that would combine a temporary worker program and path to citizenship for many illegal immigrants with increased border security. But he now puts the emphasis on securing the borders first.

4. Roe vs Wade
In August 1999, McCain told the San Francisco Chronicle that he would "not support repeal of Roe vs Wade" because it would force women to undergo illegal operations. He has subsequently said that he was speaking about the need to change the "culture of America", and supports the repeal of Roe vs Wade.

5. Ethanol
In 2003, McCain said that ethanol "does nothing to reduce fuel consumption, nothing to increase our energy independence, nothing to improve air quality." Campaigning in Iowa in August 2006, he described ethanol as a "vital alternative energy source, not only because of our dependency on foreign oil but its greenhouse reduction effects." Yesterday, in Massachusetts, he reverted to his anti-ethanol position.

By Michael Dobbs  | February 5, 2008; 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: Hillary vs Barack on Meeting Dictators
Next: Obama's voting record on abortion


When it comes to "straight shooters," the only one connected to the GOP is the Vietnamese gunner who downed McCain's jet.

Posted by: ed | February 5, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

The Log Cabin Republicans do not simply "advocate gay rights", they are the national organization for gay and lesbian Republicans. The distinction makes Romney's pander and subsequent flip-flop more egregious.

Posted by: Mike from CT | February 5, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Ed, Great comment. Shows your class perfectly. A**hole. Gotta be an Obamite.

Posted by: Chief | February 5, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

It's time for the McCain love-fest to end and for a serious investigation of his positions to begin. HIs embrace of Bush and
and far-right policy for political gain erases any once-independent stature he might have once claimed. He can't have it both ways. John McCain is ahead by default--he has no new ideas and is out of sync with the mood of the country which desperately wants someone with vision. That someone is Barack Obama.

Posted by: lsigalov | February 5, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Technically, these are mostly flips (a single change of position). McCain being against ethanol subsidies, then for them (flip), then against them (flop) qualifies as a definite flip-flop. Roe v Wade is a bit trickier. If McCain was pro-life prior to the SF Chronicle interview, then we have a second flip-flop.

I therefore crown McCain the champion flip-flopper by a score of 2 - 0.

Romney gets a consolation Pander Bear for changing on so many fundamental issues to suit the electorate.


Posted by: Fairlington Blade | February 5, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Mitt "the chameleon" Romney. It says something about right wing conservativism that this guy is actually considered a legitimate contender for the Republican party. The party my father knew has been hijacked by a bunch of intellectually dishonest social Luddites with little besides self-interest motivating them. At least McCain compromises to navigate reality rather than to shove indefensible doctrine down people's throats.

Posted by: xSamplex | February 5, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I suggest you, Dobbs, check out Taylor Marsh's website. Lots of citizen fact checkers have pointed out that Obama is quite the flip flopper, too--on a range of issues.

Posted by: Loomis | February 5, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget about all of those companies that Romney's Bain Capital FLIPPED and the millions went right into their pocket. Its not about the trying to make a buck in this capitalist economy, but the laid off workers are supposed to be voting for someone that is using those profits for campaigning?

Posted by: flipper magee | February 5, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Like what, Loomis?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 5, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

It is important to illustrate all of the facts when making a point about something so important. For example, as the facts pertain to Romneys position on McCain's immigration plan; Romney thought that "parts of the bill were reasonable" and also, and more importantly, what Romney looked at was not the final draft. The final draft of the bill had increased dramatically the scope of illegal immigrants and added the payoff for amnesty piece which Romney flatly rejected. As a result, he did not flip=flop on this issue. Additionally, Romney did not allow illegals to get drivers license or to use tax payer money to go to school.

Posted by: Millett | February 5, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Actually, McCain's biggest flip-flop is on the issue of war and peace.

First, McCain DID wobble on Iraq, a year ago:
By Margaret Talev
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 01.26.2007
WASHINGTON -- Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one of the most stalwart supporters of the war in Iraq, said Thursday that he might propose that the Iraqi government meet certain benchmarks for the United States to continue its engagement.
Fellow senators and independent political scientists said McCain's thinking reflected growing concerns within the Republican Party about the course of the war, and also might mark a turning point for the likely 2008 presidential contender, whose previous unconditional backing of the war may have hurt his prospects.
McCain said Thursday that he hadn't yet decided on precise benchmarks. "They'd have to be specific, and they (Iraqi government officials) would have to meet them," he said.
Asked what penalty would be imposed if Iraq failed to meet his benchmarks, he said: "I think everybody knows the consequences. Haven't met the benchmarks? Obviously, then, we're not able to complete the mission. Then you have to examine your options."

That is every bit as wobbly as the Romney statements that McCain made hay with.

Posted by: OD | February 5, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

But beyond that, McCain presents himself as the candidate of no surrender, saying America is only storing up trouble for itself if it backs away from fights with Islamists.

But it was JOHN McCAIN who forced Bill Clinton to flee Somalia after the Blackhawk Down incident.

Of course, conservatives will scoff at my claim. It's part of their mythology that cowardly Clinton fled Somalia after losing one chopper and half a platoon, thus emboldening the terrorists.

I know conservatives won't accept my claims.

That's why I brought a video that proves them.

This YouTube video below has a fun clip of McCain calling for an immediate withdrawal from Haiti, and a fascinating clip of McCain calling for an immediate withdrawal from Somalia.

Posted by: OD | February 5, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton argued that immediate withdrawal after the "Blackhawk down" incident would hurt US prestige. McCain called that "baloney," and went on:

"I can tell you what will erode our prestige. I can tell you what will hurt our viability as the world's superpower, and that is if we enmesh ourselves in a drawn-out situation which entails the loss of American lives, more debacles like the one we saw with the failed mission to capture Aideed's lieutenants, using American forces, and that then will be what hurts our prestige.

We suffered a terrible tragedy in Beirut, Mr. President; 240 young marines lost their lives, but we got out. Now is the time for us to get out of Somalia as rapidly and as promptly and as safely as possible.

I, along with many others, will have an amendment that says exactly that. It does not give any date certain. It does not say anything about any other missions that the United States may need or feels it needs to carry out. It will say that we should get out as rapidly and orderly as possible."
John McCain, 10 Oct, 1993

Posted by: OD | February 5, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I believe Romney's greatest flip-flop has been overlooked. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney gave no pardons or cummutations to anyone, not even to Anthony Circosta, a decorated Iraq war veteran who was convicted at the age of 13 for shooting another kid in the arm with a BB gun. However, Romney believes Scooter Libby, former Chief of Staff to Dick Cheney (and an adult), should be pardonned after being convicted for obstruction and lying to federal investigators. This is the most heinous kind of flip-flopping and it shows that Romney also lacks moral character - a trait carried by many Washington politicians.

Posted by: JM | February 5, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

So, why would McCain be so resolute on Iraq but so ready to flee in Somalia and Beirut?

Simple: He opposed Somalia because it was a Democrat operation. He opposed Haiti for the same reason.

He supported the cowardly flight from Beirut because it was ordered by Saint Ronnie. Had it been ordered by a Democrat, he would have condemned it.

GOP prestige, McCain prestige, is precious, but when it's just the military's prestige at stake and there's a chance to wound a Democrat, McCain is the first and loudest to sound the retreat, as this old footage proves. McCain could get a job with showing them this stuff.

The notion that he is politically brave to stick with an unpopular war is absurd. McCain is so closely linked to the war, it would be political suicide for him to turn against it now. All he can hope for is to convince people to like it.

If the Democrats had invaded Iraq instead of the Republicans, John McCain would have spent the past five years loudly complaining that Iraq wasn't worth the bones of a single Marine. It's only because his credibility is sunk in this venture that he refuses to back out.

That's the truth about John McCain, and his own words caught on film prove it.

Posted by: OD | February 5, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

It's not a secret that pols stretch the truth beyond the limits of social responsibility.These flip floppers like all Republicans base their campaigns on an ocean of lies the same as their GOP agenda...lies to start a war, lies to keep the war going, lies about helping the working class, lies to benefit the super rich. Republicans' careers are built on lies and flip flop speeches that make propaganda lies about the Dems blush. Lies lies everywhere there are lies.

Posted by: henry wallace1 | February 5, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Constant and consistent flip-flopping is the hallmark of any straight politician. He who flips floppier wins !

Posted by: rodolfo s. | February 5, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I voted against Romney when he ran for Govenor of Massachuesetts, because he was against a ban on abortion and was pro gay marriage. Am I to believe he is 100% flipped the 'Right' way?

Posted by: confused conservative | February 5, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

The only point I disagree with here is on McCain's change of heart on the tax cuts. He opposed the first round on the basis of that they were for the wealthy. However, he opposed the second round because he felt they were unwise while the United States was at war, thus widening the federal deficit. As President, he has said, he will fight to keep the tax cuts, but not because they were cuts, but that allowing them to expire would be a de facto tax increase, which is in line with McCain's philosophy over the years.

Anyways, it's gonna be interesting to see what the race is still like ten hours from now.

Posted by: Nathan | February 5, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see an article about McCain that doesn't have "maverick" in the lede. Too bad more of WaPo's coverage of the race(including print coverage) isn't like this.

Posted by: Rich | February 5, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Romney = political oppurtunist, professional flip flopper, no core political principles.Won Michigan by promising MORE welfare money/bailouts to the terribly run car companies. Huckabee = religious zelot who believes we should conform the constitution to the bible. His words not mine. McCain = closet liberal at times, McCain-Kennedy, McCain Feingold, free speech? amnesty anyone? Voted to double the size of the Dept of Education with No Child Left Behind. Oddly enough he believes we should be in Iraq for 100 yrs if necessary.. The only candidate with a plan to fix the economy/dollar and get us out of Iraq is Ron Paul. C'mon folks educate yourself, I promise it won't hurt.
Ron Paul 2008

Posted by: bill | February 5, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Democrat and this is so much fun to watch.

You guys had it all, the GOP House, the GOP Senate, the GOP Executive branch, the Supreme GOP F**king Court--and now you're screwing the pooch to come in last?

How'd that happen again? Care to review that for me? Was it by LYING? CHEATING? GREED? Defying the RULE OF LAW? Signing statements? Torture? Enron?

And get this, if Obama doesn't run for President and the Hillary Slime Machine does--I'm voting for McCain. And he'll still probably lose.

A lose-lose-lose situation all around. Thanks to YOU, KARL ROVE.

Posted by: tony the pitiful copywriter | February 5, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of who is flippier or floppier, McCain or Romney, there is one thng I know for certain:

Romney just makes my skin crawl. There is something just plain ooky (the scientific term) about him that leaves me decidedly uncomfortable.

Posted by: Faux News | February 5, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Considering the mess that a "straight shooter" has gotten us into over the last 7 years, I think flipfloppery should be pretty low on one's list of criteria for deciding who they will support this election. What the country needs now more than anything is 1) a competent administrator, 2) an economic guru, and 3) an adaptable military leader. McCain is unproven on #1, not #2, and possibly yes on #3. Romney is #1 and #2 and unproven on #3. Neither is ideal, but I think Romney wins this one. Huckabee is none of the above, but he does have a southern accent, says he believes in Jesus, and is not a Mormon which has been enough to convince a certain selection of our populace that he is ready to run the free world. Ron Paul is also none of the above, but he does have a secret decoder ring with which he has discovered the secret one true meaning of the Constitution that tells him that smoking pot and prostitution is good, but the 14th Amendment is not.

Posted by: Dave | February 5, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

At least as far back a the first George Bush we have had this obsession with the foolish consistency as somehow being the hallmark of moral virtue. George I went so far as to use a baseball game as an example -- saying that a real man would be for, either the Atlanta Braves or, I think, was it the Yankees in the Series that year? As if a person couldn't enjoy a good baseball game without favoring one team over the other -- or as if to do so was like, I don't know, having sex with turtles. But it was George Bush's biggest flaw -- this goes for both of them -- not to be able to see more than one side of any issue, no matter how complex. They really don't seem to get how subtle and complex the real world is. Bible coloring books, you can color in with a few crayons. God's real world, you need some practice mixing your paint. He made it more complicated than you or I can grasp -- and we best use our brains to the best of our limited abilities to see all sides. If you use both eyes, you can see what we call "perspective." Wise people have that; fools do not (though of course I over-simplify -- cut me some slack, please, it's just to make a point).

But there was method to the Bush tactic of making a moral virtue of the one-eyed view. It leveled the playing field between the Bushes and their smarter opponents. Anyone makes a subtle point, you accuse them of waffling -- and you don't have to think, and you excuse the same laziness in your supporters. Remember "fuzzy math"? Well, you need a bigger fuzzy calculator this year to grasp what a huge catastrophe the Bush budget is. Gimme that lock box, man, I could use it right now, that's for sure. A serious nerd, it turns out, might have done a better job than an old boy who's good with a beer bong.

Let's try and nurture a little education and some respect for real thought in our politicians, for a change. Let em think, let em talk, let them admit that problems are complex and have many facets. Sincerity is not about being a mindless parrot and repeating things over and over again. Sincerity is from the heart; but the mind's job, sometimes, is to change.

At least that's how I see it today.

Posted by: Ule | February 5, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, OD? McCain's opposition to continued presence in Somalia and Haiti and his support for getting out of Beirut had nothing to do with who was president (though getting out, getting out, and getting out seems pretty consistent); it was about the amount of threat posed by the oppressors/enemies and the fact that those were worthless OR hopeless missions. You said it yourself - he's in it for the fight against radical islamists. And he doesn't see it as hopeless.

Get a clue.

Posted by: JB | February 5, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only person who is concerned about the Muslim background of Obama??

Posted by: Wendy Block | February 5, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Ule. A strong politician should be working for the greatest good for the most people while minimizing the damage to the rest. We need a lot of moral integrity and someone smart enough to see all the facets of a problem. What we've been getting is "I'm right, you're wrong so a pox on you and all your followers." If seeing the complexity of a problem leads to flip-flopping, we should be encouraging it.

Posted by: Ray | February 5, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

As a reader, I'm not that interested in evaluation of whether or not candidates have flip-flopped.

I think it's fair to study such issues in the context of accusations candidates make about one another. However, unlike lying, there's nothing wrong with changing your position on an issue.

Posted by: Greg Sanders | February 5, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Chief, excuse me, but your unwarranted swipe at 9:20 am at Obama supporters showed no more class than Ed's attack. Sigh.

Posted by: jhbyer | February 5, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Wendy, try checking your facts. Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ.

But for that matter, who cares if he is a Muslim?

Nice to see that once again, this campaign is going to be waged with an arsenal of mud, falsa attacks and innuendo, as opposed to actual positions on the issues and a vision of what we each want this country to be.

Posted by: Faux News | February 5, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock,
I'm a little McCain FlipFlop,
First I'm here, and next I'm there,
Don't be confused by my vote getting cares.

On lobby money I have taken my share,
Keating 5 was my first foray there,
Then when outted I changed my stance,
Now I stand firmly against campaign finance.

Next on votes I may stand here or there,
I have a record of voting with Democrats cares,
In fact you find that I'm quite a rouge,
You never know where I'll be when the wind blows.

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock,
I'm a little McCain FlipFlop,
First I'm here, and next I'm there,
Don't be confused by my smoke screen smears.

And should we disagree, I'll dig my feet in and put up a fuss,
I am an angry man with Machiavellian gloves,
I hit my opponents from the front, then slice them from the rear,
All the time saying, My Friend, its just politics, not to fear.

On the Bush Tax Cuts I was against them for years,
Only 2 republicans voted against them to be clear,
But now I need votes and I see the error of my ways,
I am for the Tax Cuts as long as it pays.

On immigration I stood firmly with the left,
Free pass to immigration for tax paying illegals seemed to me best,
But now that Republican votes are my aim,
I can see more clearly the politics of border control game.
It may not appear that I have changed my position to support the wall,
As long as a vote never occurs for my senate immigration proposal.

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock,
I'm a little McCain FlipFlop,
First I'm here, and next I'm there,
So don't be disappointed when you find me courting democrat cares.

Posted by: greaterclarity | February 5, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock,
I'm a little McCain FlipFlop,
First I'm here, and next I'm there,
Don't be confused by my vote getting cares.

On lobby money I have taken my share,
Keating 5 was my first foray there,
Then when outted I changed my stance,
Now I stand firmly against campaign finance.

Next on votes I may stand here or there,
I have a record of voting with Democrats cares,
In fact you find that I'm quite a rouge,
You never know where I'll be when the wind blows.

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock,
I'm a little McCain FlipFlop,
First I'm here, and next I'm there,
Don't be confused by my smoke screen smears.

And should we disagree, I'll dig my feet in and put up a fuss,
I am an angry man with Machiavellian gloves,
I hit my opponents from the front, then slice them from the rear,
All the time saying, My Friend, its just politics, not to fear.

On the Bush Tax Cuts I was against them for years,
Only 2 republicans voted against them to be clear,
But now I need votes and I see the error of my ways,
I am for the Tax Cuts as long as it pays.

On immigration I stood firmly with the left,
Free pass to immigration for tax paying illegals seemed to me best,
But now that Republican votes are my aim,
I can see more clearly the politics of border control game.
It may not appear that I have changed my position to support the wall,
As long as a vote never occurs for my senate immigration proposal.

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock,
I'm a little McCain FlipFlop,
First I'm here, and next I'm there,
So don't be disappointed when you find me courting democrat cares.

Posted by: greaterclarity | February 5, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Wendy Block (2:24 pm) asks, "Am I the only person concerned about the Muslim background of Obama?"

Yes, so far as I know. Others have merely feigned to be for partisan purposes. What is your specific concern, Ms. Block?

Posted by: jhbyer | February 5, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it help if Obama were indeed a Muslim?

FACT: Obama is a member of United Church of Christ.

The extent to which Republicans are xenophobic, racist, holy warriors makes me sick.

Posted by: More GOP lies | February 5, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

People change their opinions over time. I am more disturbed by those who cling to ideas far beyond the point their positions or views have been shown to be untenable, unreconcilable, or just plain wrong. The thing that bothers me most about politicians in general and these two specifically is a fundamental unwillingness to admit that they have had their minds changed. Why is it so hard to say that "I used to believe that X was the best choice for America, but as time has passed and our nation has changed, I now see Y as the best course for the future." A statement like that would catapault any candidate into a front running category all their own, if only any one of them had the dignity and self worth to say it.

Posted by: Dave | February 5, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Ule, Ray and others zeroing in on reality, like posters *Faux News* and *More GOP lies*. Earth to WaPo? Would you kindly remove "flip-flopper" from your spell checker or whatever would help your journalists? They seem unaware it can't transcend to anything real, because it has no true meaning, except in relation to physical objects. It's from, I think, a GOP attack ad on Kerry, and if that isn't enough to discredit it, I can't imagine what would.

Posted by: jhbyer | February 5, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

To Wendy Block: No, you're not the only one who worries that Obama is a closet Muslim. There are thousands of loonies in America. Don't feel lonely.

Posted by: Dave Southern | February 5, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that Republicans are xenophobic, racist, holy warriors?

Well to their credit they are not (for the most part). The lie about Obama being Muslim is a myth created by Internet Trolls looking for reaction. The sad part is some people read this trash and believe it is truth.

The Internet is a series of tubes filled with lies, pr0n, and sports scores, and political trash.

- enjoy

Posted by: More GOP lies got it right | February 5, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh come on is ANYONE worried about McCain?!? How could he be elected? He has a huge swath of unpopular ideas, the Republicans don't like him, he's elderly and aging before our eyes, and then there is his stroll in the Baghdad Market.

He's probably going to collapse during the campaign and have to drop out, but if he runs it'll just be Clinton/Dole all over again.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | February 5, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Man I wish Obama was a muslim. A muslim couldn't possibly act as hateful as the christian leaders we currently have.

Posted by: Travis | February 5, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

McCain should have stuck with his original position on the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. They are a travesty. Arguing that doing away with them is a de facto tax increase is ridiculous---it's simply a return to the status quo. How deep into debt does this country have to go before politicians recognize that?

P.S. Obama has belonged to the same protestant church for over 2 decades. He is not a Muslim. For heaven's sake, please check out some of these claims before you take them to heart.

Posted by: Melanie | February 5, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait for your next piece. Hillary and Bill's flip flops.

Posted by: Bill Smith | February 5, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Grow up people, flip-flopping is a way of life.We practice flip-flopping one way or another.It starts at home.One day my wife is full of love 4 me, the next day she detests me depending on whether I have fullfilled her favorite wish.Come Wednesday, I forgive after we make up only to resent her when she sides with our oldest son John on what TV channel 2 watch or what pizza flavor 2 eat in our local pizzaria.The boss promisess me a raise only to bypass me and raise Chuck's pay when I don't kiss his blue jeans enough.The weatherman promises sunshine only to smilingly and apologetically refute himself when it suddenly downpours.Look around you,left and right all of us are flip-flopping. So grow up children,join the adult world---namely there will always be flip-flopping as long man is what he/she is,unles,of course,a miracle occurs.

Posted by: Ali Baba` | February 5, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Romney Pledges To Carry On,
Despite Huckabee's Scandalous Acts

Super Tuesday! Unfortunately, the day was marred by the unthinkable. An intentional thwarting of the good people of West Virginia's constitutional right to representation. It was a foul play maneuver brought about via an outright, probably criminal act of collusion by the McCain camp. Utilizing a willing co-conspirator in the form of Mike Huckabee, who was desperate for an early victory. Huckabee is certainly little more than a pawn to John McCain in this, as he is in the election at large in order to stymie Mitt Romney. That however does not excuse the inexcusable, it is without question the most egregious single act of overt sabotage on America's political stage in recent history!

Mitt Romney captured his fair share of states on Super Tuesday. He gathered 7 states to McCain's 9. It is very clear to all at this point, justice would say 1 of Huckabee's 5 southern states, (West Virginia), belonged(s) to Mitt Romney. So, what we're left with then, in terms of what the people of West Virginia actually intended, is John McCain/9, Mitt Romney/8, and Mike Huckabee/4 respectively.

Not to mention, once again it is very apparent, the presence of a nonviable Huckabee candidacy cost Mitt Romney the opportunity to come away with crucial victories in not only the West Virginia scandal, but Delaware, Illinois, Arizona, and of course, undoubtedly, CA.

Anyone who questions the fact that it is now (and has been for some time) a two man race between John McCain and Mitt Romney only look at the record as a whole. States won, delegates won, and most importantly, of states not won, who finished second! Mitt Romney is the only other legitimate Republican candidate besides John McCain, that has been the case, but it is certainly the case today.

On Super Tuesday Huckabee has finally illustrated he is strictly a regional candidate, winning 5 states, (4 legitimately) he has marginal appeal outside the south. Given that fact, he has shown an astounding incapability to do the next right indicated thing, both for his party, and the country! Whether driven by his ego, the seemingly insatiable need for continued fanfare, or a genuine unintentional naivety, he nonetheless has amounted to nothing more than a party spoiler at best, and if the country falls into the democrat's hands in November, he could very well have a legitimate claim to being responsible for singlehandedly ruining our country for the next 4 - 8 years.

At any rate, Mitt Romney has pledged to carry the fight on to the nomination, and then on to the White House.

Posted by: TheTelesisFile | February 6, 2008 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Romney's new name is Opti"Mitt" Prime be cause he "Transforms" after every primary.

Posted by: Dutch P. | February 6, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

The Telesis File:Mitt Romney 4 VP!
Governor Mike Huckbee has as much right to participate in the Republican contest for the total delegates.Not only that but as a citizen he has a right to run, oppose,side, or simply withdrawing from the presidential race. No one including your,sir, has a right to try shut him out of the race.Mitt Romney could have won some of Huckbees's voters had he been more consistent with his political goals but he was not.He is a capable man but was simply outdone and outraced by more capable contestants.There is still a slot for the VP. I believe McCain can use a talented man like Mitt Romney, the country needs him.

Posted by: Ali Baba | February 6, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

If Romney had remained a social moderate I think he would already be the Republican nominee. His choice to tack right not only gave him the "flip-flopper" label it would kill him with independents in the general election. The only people who care about these wedge issues are on the far-right and far-left. Most Americans are tired of hearing about them.

Posted by: MarcMyWords | February 6, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: wvem mkbxsdc | April 16, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

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