Where Does Mitt Romney Stand?

Two weeks ago, both the Weekly Standard and National Review featured Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts in favorable cover stories. Last week, Bob Novak followed Romney to Michigan and filed a column concluding there is no doubt Romney is running for President.

So, it’s not too early to ask: Where does Romney stand? Human Events took a look at Romney’s positions on some key issues that concern conservatives, focusing largely on his own and his advisers’ statements.


No New Taxes
“‘I’m absolutely committed to not raising taxes,’ Romney said.”
—Boston Globe, Nov. 6, 1994

No Forbes Flat Tax
“Mitt Romney today is running a series of full-page newspaper ads attacking the 17% flat tax proposed by candidate Steve Forbes. … ‘The problem with the Forbes flat tax is that it isn’t flat at all—it’s a zero tax on the wealthy and a 17% tax on working Americans,’ Romney said yesterday. ‘I’m hoping that by running these ads voters will realize the Forbes flat tax is a gimmick, a phony, and not what it pretends to be.'”
—Boston Globe, Jan. 21, 1996

Fees, Not Taxes
“[Massachusetts] had to deal with a $3 billion deficit. . . . ‘You don’t create economic prosperity by raising taxes,’ [Romney] says. He cut some programs, combined others, and looked for savings everywhere he could. In the end, he was forced to boost fees for a variety of government services by more than $200 million. ‘I know it’s kind of hard to distinguish between taxes and fees,’ he says, ‘but we stayed away from broad-based fee increases such as driver’s-license registrations.’ He says that balancing the budget without a tax hike has been his most significant accomplishment as governor.”
National Review, June 20, 2005

Life Issues

For Roe v. Wade
Boston Globe reporter Sally Jacobs: “Mr. Romney, you personally oppose abortion and as a church leader have advised women not to have an abortion. Given that, how could you in good conscience support a law that enables women to have an abortion, and even lets the government pay for it? If abortion is morally wrong, aren’t you responsible for discouraging it?”

Romney: “One of the great things about our nation, Sally, is that we’re each entitled to have strong personal beliefs, and we encourage other people to do the same. But as a nation we recognize the right of all people to believe as they want, and not to impose our beliefs on other people. I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country; I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate.

“I believe that Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law and the right of a woman to make that choice. And my personal beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be brought into a political campaign.”
—Senate campaign debate with Sen. Ted Kennedy.
New York Times, Oct. 26, 1994

For RU-486
“‘I don’t really understand how it works or when it works but my understanding is it’s an effective morning-after pill, and I think it would be a positive thing to have women have the choice of taking the morning-after pill,’ Romney said. ‘I would favor having it available.'”
—Boston Herald, May 19, 1994

Not a Pro-Choice Flip-Flopper
“Citing a 1971 letter written by Kennedy, [Romney political consultant Charles] Manning responded, ‘I think the reason they don’t trust Ted Kennedy is that he flip-flopped on abortion. He was pro-life before Roe v. Wade and now he’s changed. Mitt has always been consistent in his pro-choice position and that’s why the group respects him.'”
—Boston Globe, Sept. 8, 1994

Don’t Label ‘Pro-Choice’
“‘I do not wish to be labeled pro-choice,’ Romney wrote this week in a letter to the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune. ‘I have never felt comfortable with the labels associated with the abortion issue.'”
—Salt Lake Tribune, July 11, 2001

Pledged to Maintain ‘Pro-Choice Status Quo’
“As governor, Mitt Romney would protect the current pro-choice status quo in Massachusetts. No law would change. The choice to have an abortion is a deeply personal one. Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not the government’s.”
—Romney campaign statement.
Deseret News, Sept. 1, 2002

Philosophically Pro-Life
“My political philosophy is pro-life.”
National Review, June 20, 2005

‘Faking It’?
“He’s been a pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly.”
—Romney political consultant Michael Murphy.
National Review, June 20, 2005

“‘The quote in the National Review article was not what I meant to communicate,’ [Michael Murphy] wrote on the letterhead of his Washington-based firm yesterday. ‘I was discussing a characterization the governor’s critics use. I regret the quote and any confusion it might have caused.'”
—Boston Herald, June 3, 2005

Won’t Confuse Massachusetts
“‘Understand over time one’s perspective changes somewhat,’ [Romney] said. ‘I’m in a different place than I was probably in 1994, when I ran against Ted Kennedy, in my own views on that.’ … What are Romney’s views now? The governor said he was ‘personally pro-life’ but declined to say more. ‘I choose not to elaborate on those because I don’t want to be confusing to people in my state,’ he said.”
USA Today, May 23, 2005

Marriage and Partnerships

For Domestic Partnerships, Against Gay Marriage and Civil Unions
“Of course I do want to see equal opportunity in employment, and provide also benefits such as hospital visitation rights for domestic partnerships. But I made very clear in my campaign throughout the entire campaign that I do not support gay marriage or civil unions, Vermont-style civil unions, as I called them at the time. Haven’t changed my view at all. Now, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court came out with a decision, which made that an issue that came front and center. I made it clear time and again I do not support gay marriage nor civil unions.”
—CNN’s “Inside Politics,” March 1, 2005


For “Assault Weapons” Ban
“Mitt Romney supports the strict enforcement of gun laws. He is a supporter of the federal assault weapons ban. Mitt also believes in the rights of those who hunt to responsibly own and use firearms.”
—Romney campaign statement.
Deseret News, Sept. 1, 2002


Against Illegal Alien Amnesty
“Last year, the governor threatened to veto a bill that would have allowed illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses, but the legislation never made it to his desk. He actually did veto a bill that would have given illegal aliens the right to in-state tuition at public universities. He hasn’t taken a formal position on any of the federal immigration plans. ‘I’m against an amnesty and against anything that provides an incentive for people to come here illegally.'”
National Review, June 20, 2005