WASHINGTON – Mitt Romney has taken the first, initial step towards a presidential run in 2012. The former governor of Massachusetts announced on Monday that he has formed an exploratory committee that will seek the GOP nomination and eventually the White House.
"It is time that we put America back on a course of greatness, with a growing economy, good jobs and fiscal discipline in Washington," Romney said on his own Web site.
Let's take a look at where Romney stands on the issues. You'll notice that Romney has shifted many of his views over the years.
According to a report from GovWatch in 2008, Romney has flip-flopped on the abortion issue. While running for Massachusetts governor in 2002, he said he would "preserve and protect" a woman's right to have an abortion. But that changed when he was elected. He explained his change of heart on "Meet the Press" in 2007:
"I was always personally opposed to abortion, as I think almost everyone in this nation is. And the question for me was, what is the role of government? And it was quite theoretical and philosophical to consider what the role of government should be in this regard, and I felt that the Supreme Court had spoken and that government shouldn’t be involved and let people make their own decision. That all made a lot of sense to me. Then I became governor and the theoretical became reality. A bill came to my desk which related to the preservation of life. I recognized that I simply could not be part of an effort that would cause the destruction of human lift. And I didn’t hide from that change of heart. I recognize it’s a change. Every piece of legislation which came to my desk in the coming years as the governor, I came down on the side of preserving the sanctity of life."
GovWatch reports on another Romney flip-flop. The Web site On The Issues writes:
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.”
He said on "Meet the Press":
"I support the work of the NRA. I’m a member of the NRA. But do we line up on every issue? No, we don’t."
Romney has a lot of explaining to do to GOP voters regarding his health care plan in Massachusetts, which is said to be the model for Obamacare. Romney denies that, saying during a 2007 presidential debate:
“Every Democrat up there’s talking about a form of socialized medicine, government takeover, massive tax increase. I’m the guy who actually tackled this issue. We get all of our citizens insured. We get people that were uninsured with private health insurance. We have to stand up and say the market works. Personal responsibility works.”
FactCheck.org said the Romney and Obama plans were "virtually identical."
Romney was criticized during the 2008 campaign for not taking action against Massachusetts cities that were so called "sanctuary cities" that supported illegal immigrants. During a 2007 debate said, "Governors aren’t responsible for mayors who are not following the law." Romney said he was tough on immigration as governor, and is against amnesty for illegal aliens.
Romney is a Mormon, which is of great concern to many Americans who don't understand what Mormons believe (and a few who do). During a speech at the Bush Presidential Library in 2007, Romney said:
"There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. My church’s beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history. These are not bases for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance. Religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree."