In a last ditch effort to win over undecided moderates, Mitt Romney is finally fulfilling his adviser’s prediction that he would become the “Etch-a-Sketch” candidate. During the first presidential debate, Romney started reversing positions he espoused all year while he was trying to placate the Republican base. Since the debate, he’s continued to shed his hard-line stances that alienated moderates.
Here are 5 examples of the new moderate Romney:
1. “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” In an interview with the Des Moines Register on Tuesday, Romney backed away from the promises listed on his own website to appoint Supreme Court judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade and end all federal funding for Planned Parenthood. In June 2011, he also specified his support for a “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” an abortion ban based on junk science. More generally, Romney said he would be “delighted” to sign a bill banning all abortions during his first presidential run.
2. “We want to reduce the burden on middle-income taxpayers, and we’re not going to provide a tax break to high-income taxpayers.” In the same interview, Romney disavowed his own tax plan, which would give high-income taxpayers a litany of tax breaks, including an across the board 20 percent tax cut and the elimination of the estate tax. During the Republican primary, Romney admitted that his plan gives tax breaks to high income tax payers, promising he was “going to cut taxes on everyone across the country by 20 percent, including the top 1 percent.” In order to pay for these tax cuts on the wealthy, Romney would have to raise taxes on middle class families by more than $2,000.
3. “Pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.” Romney misrepresented his health care plan during the debate. In fact, only people who were continuously insured are protected from discrimination. Millions of Americans who have been denied insurance for their pre-existing conditions would be left to their own devices under Romney’s plan.
4. “You have to have regulation. And there are some parts of Dodd-Frank that make all the sense in the world.” Also during the debate, Romney suddenly embraced the bank reform law he previously said he would repeal entirely.
5. “The people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid.” Considered the most hard-line immigration candidate in a field of extreme Republican candidates, Romney said he would allow the young undocumented immigrants to keep their special work permits issued by President Obama, though he plans to end the directive if president.
Romney surrogates have admitted that Romney is changing his positions for political gain. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) explained that “strong conservatives would understand” that Romney needs to lean center to cull moderate votes.