I need to say it: in all my time as a political junkie I have never seen a candidate like the presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney. It is mind-blogging. Yesterday he was WIDELY quoted as saying he supported same sex adoption. Now he has changed that position.
This issue here is increasingly not the actual issues. It is whether anything he says can believed or remain operative if it hits any speed bumps on the road to political expediency. It goes beyond mere pandering to one or more of these possibilities:
Further, this latest shift further raises eyebrows when he says he can’t recall the bullying incident remembered by five now grown up people who went to school with them who sourced the latest Washington Post story.
Here’s the key part of this latest development. Once more: the issue is NOT his position on an issue. The issue is whether anything he says can be a)trusted b)be trusted to last as his position at all:
Among Mitt Romney’s timid responses this week after President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality was an admission that he was “fine” with same-sex couples adopting children, saying, “that’s something that people have a right to do.” But by Friday afternoon, he was already backing away from that position, suggesting that he merely “acknowledges” that many states offer same-sex adoption:
ROMNEY: Actually, I think all states but one allow gay adoption. So that’s a position which has been decided by most of the state legislatures, including the one in my state some time ago. So I simply acknowledge the fact that gay adoption is legal in all states but one.
Here’s what he said on same sex adoption on Fox News:
I drove for about 4 hours yesterday. During that time I surfed the cable networks and heard network newscasts. Most of them had a sound bite from Romney on this and he was quoted on this.
It lasted less than 24 hours.
He is clearly now trying to back away from his comments. As he has been doing from most of his comments he has made over many years.
As I have noted, this is now a pattern.
UPDATE: My chronology was a bit wrong here. Later on Friday he “clarified” his position. The National Journal gives a nice summary:
He said on Thursday: “And if two people of the same gender want to live together, want to have a loving relationship, or even to adopt a child — in my state, individuals of the same sex were able to adopt children. In my view, that’s something that people have a right to do. But to call that ‘marriage’ is something that, in my view, is a departure from the real meaning of that word.”
On Friday,he was asked, in an interview with CBS affiliate WBTV in Charlotte, N.C., how his opposition to gay marriage “squared” with his support for gay adoptions. Romney told anchor Paul Cameron, “Well, actually I think all states but one allow gay adoption, so that’s a position which has been decided by most of the state legislatures, including the one in my state some time ago. So I simply acknowledge the fact that gay adoption is legal in all states but one.”
Romney did remain consistent on one point: He said he does not intend to use President Obama’s flip-flop of same-sex marriage against him in the campaign. Obama, who opposed gay marriage when he ran for president in 2008, said this week he now supports it. Romney said, “I think the issue of marriage and gay marriage is a very tender and sensitive topic. People come out in different places on this. The president has changed course in regards to this topic. I think that’s his right to do that. I have a different view than he does. I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, but I just don’t think that this becomes a hot political issue dividing our nation.”
1. Let’s see how long the above assertion stands.
2. Read my analysis above and the link. It all still stands.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.