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Sunday, December 17, 2006

"Romney's Journey To the Right"--It's not been as long a trek as some say.

So, the pokes and jabs at a Romney run keep coming from the Boston Globe . . .

I know this was linked to already . . . but wanted to offer some commentary before the story got buried.

They lead off this article with the following:

On that day, Romney and two aides met in his State House office with renowned Harvard University stem cell researcher Douglas A. Melton. In Romney's retelling, Melton coolly explained how his work relied on cloning human embryos.

" I sat down with a researcher. And he said, 'Look, you don't have to think about this stem cell research as a moral issue, because we kill the embryos after 14 days,' " Romney recalled on " The Charlie Rose Show " last June, characterizing the meeting as a watershed moment for him. "That struck me as he said that."

Melton remembers the session differently.

"Governor Romney has mischaracterized my position; we didn't discuss killing or anything related to it," he said in a statement last week. "I explained my work to him, told him about my deeply held respect for life, and explained that my work focuses on improving the lives of those suffering from debilitating diseases."

So, essentially the Globe sought out this guy and have now quoted him as proof that Romney is/was lying about their encounter. I've heard Romney speak about or write about that experience on several occasions, and he's never had the poor taste to name them man. The Globe, however, lacks such tact, and have printed his name and asked him if he said this "wasn't a moral issue, because we kill the embryos after 14 days." Heck, I'd probably deny saying that too and paint it in a more positive light. And, everytime I've heard Romney relating that story, he's PARAPHRASED the researcher. Researchers probably wouldn't use the word "kill"--I'll give him that. I've done Embryonic stem cell research on mice and we tend to use words like "sacrifice", or "harvest", or "destroy" the embryos. The researcher doesn't view this as "killing" but it is ending the possibility of life for these embryos. Also, Romney had Beth Meyers with him and, if necessary, she could clarify the situation.

Moving on . . .

The most recent wrinkle for Romney has been the resurfacing of his comments on gay rights during his unsuccessful 1994 Senate challenge to Edward M. Kennedy. He promised "more effective leadership" than Kennedy on winning "full equality" for gays and lesbians, opposed a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and advocated gays serving openly in the military.

Some of this is a correct representation, but, again, some of it is flat out wrong, and I hope this globe writer, Scott Helman, gets called on the carpet for getting things wrong. Romney has NEVER "opposed a federal constituational amendment banning gay marriage" . . . that's just FLAT OUT WRONG! I blogged previously on this increasingly common misrepresentation.

What Romney actually said:

On whether he supported the civil marriage rights of same-sex couples:

“I line up with Gov. Weld on that, and it’s a state issue as you know — the authorization of marriage on a same-sex basis falls under state jurisdiction. My understanding is that he has looked at the issue and concluded that certain benefits and privileges should be offered to gay couples. But he does not feel at this time that he wishes to extend legalized marriage on a same-sex basis, and I support his position.

On whether he’d want more studies done on the marriage issue:

That will occur at the state level. I’ll let the governor in Massachusetts, and the governors of others states, as well, study it, evaluate it, discuss the alternatives with psychologists and social workers and health care specialist and so forth to gather information and consider it in a very reasoned way. I have confidence the governor will take the right action.”

So, Romney made a statement of fact, that states DID AND DO decide marriage laws (the laws being proposed/ratified by the executive and/or legislative branches). Nowhere did he state his opinion on whether or not it SHOULD be a state's right's issue (as the Globe falsely stated). I believe that, down deep, Romney wishes this issue could have remained just a states issue . . . however, when activist judges started deciding to make up laws (instead of interpreting them) a new course of action was needed to protect the institution of marriage and the children it produces . . . Romney has picked up the gauntlet in this cause and been a stalwart in defending marriage and fighting against activist judges.

I'm emailing this Helman guy to ask him to stop getting this issue wrong.

Next topic: EMBRYONIC stem cell research

Here, the liberal MSM tactic is to blur the usage of the terms "stem cell research" and "EMBRYONIC stem cell research" . . . knowing that the average reader either reads by these terms too quickly, or doesn't know the difference.

At a campaign appearance at Brandeis University in June 2002, Romney strongly endorsed stem cell research. At that event and in several instances since, he declined to offer an opinion on embryo cloning, which many scientists believe holds the most promise for curing disease. His aides said he needed to study it more.

But on Feb. 10, 2005, three months after his meeting with Melton, Romney came out strongly against the cloning technique, saying in a New York Times story that the method breached an "ethical boundary." He vowed to press for legislation to criminalize the work.

Romney's opposition stunned scientists, lawmakers, and observers because of his past statements endorsing, at least in general terms, embryonic stem cell research. Six months earlier, his wife, Ann, had expressed hope publicly that stem cells would hold a cure for her disease, multiple sclerosis.

First off, EVERYBODY "strongly endorses stem cell research"--this is not even an issue and this is the research that is currently yielding the most promising treatments.

And on Romney's so-called "at least in general terms" endorsement of EMBRYONIC stem cell research . . . believe me, if the Globe had an incriminating quote proving a "flip-flop", you would have seen it in print. Don't buy what the Globe is selling on this one.

Next up: "Contraception"

The tangible result of Romney's abortion shift was his veto of a bill in July 2005 to make the so-called morning-after pill available over the counter at Massachusetts pharmacies and to require hospitals to make it available to rape victims. The governor returned from a New Hampshire vacation to veto the bill.

The emergency contraception pill, also called Plan B, is a high dose of hormones women can take within days of having sex to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Supporters say it halts ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine wall, but has no effect on a firmly implanted egg. Opponents who believe that life begins at conception contend that it can cause a "chemical abortion" by hampering implantation in the uterine wall.

The veto, which the Legislature eventually overrode, drew condemnation from reproductive rights advocates, because in 2002, Romney had answered "yes" to their survey questions about whether he supported efforts to increase access to emergency contraception.

Another maze of words and terms . . . and again, a dishonest representation. Plan B is more than a contraceptive . . . it is an abortifacient. Romney's promise not to change abortion laws as the MA Governor made his stance here utterly consistant with his pre-campaign statements.

Next: Abstinece ONLY education. . .

Almost not worth responding to . . . but they're trying to make a "flip-flop" out of this when there is none at all. Romney wanted "Abstinence" to be taught as an ALTERNATIVE method of contraception. The kids, with parental permission, could participate in these programs IN ADDITION to their normal sexual education programs (which usually cover contraception methods pretty well--except that good old Abstinence method). Hardly "Abstinece Only."

Tying things up:

And at the 2004 Republican National Convention, Romney accused Senator John F. Kerry of being a flip-flopper. But now, as Romney's candidacy has gained steam, he's getting similar treatment.

Andrew Sullivan, in his blog last week, slammed Romney for his evolution on social issues. "He really is John Kerry's successor as a candidate from Massachusetts," Sullivan wrote. "He'll say anything and everything to get elected."

I guess I should not be surprised that the Globe is giving Sullivan a forum to peddle his trash, but really! Sullivan will hang himself and nullify his credibility with that last statement. Just "rookie" journalism.

Romney supporters such as Fulton Sheen, a Republican state representative in Michigan who is helping to lead the governor's 2008 efforts in the state, say what is important is that Romney does not retreat from his current positions on social issues.

"I'm a Christian believer. If I didn't believe in redemption, I wouldn't be able to stand on my own beliefs," Sheen said. "As far as I'm concerned, if someone makes a change and says, 'At one time I was here and I've come to this conclusion now or I've changed my position here or there' -- you know, I can handle that."

Steve Scheffler, president of the Iowa Christian Alliance, notes that Romney's moderate past needs to be kept in perspective when thinking about who will win the 2008 Republican nomination. Every leading candidate, including Senator John McCain of Arizona and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, will have problems winning over voters in the conservative base, Scheffler said.

Cool, I know Steve. He's a pragmatist and has helped grow the ICA (my impression is that he may have some qualms about McCain and Giuliani, as the quote confirms). I've also heard Phyllis Schafly tell staunch social conservatives there are two things to remember about supporting candidates: 1) Jesus is not going going to be on the ballot, and 2) Somebody's got to lead.

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