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Gay Republican adverts “out” Presidential candidate

PinkNews Staff Writer October 6, 2007
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Gay Republicans have launched a new television ad campaign to ‘out’ US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney on issues such as abortion rights and gun control.

The 30-second advertisement will run nationally on Fox News Channel, with a focus on reaching Iowa voters.

Romney called the ad from the Log Cabin Republicans a “personal, negative attack” and accused the group of showing their favouritism for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani by airing the ad.

The Log Cabin Republicans have accused former Governor Mitt Romney of ‘flip-flopping’ on controversial topics in order to garner votes from the conservative Republican base.

The advertisement, launched this week, highlights three issues: Romney’s former support for abortion rights, his advocacy for gun control and his denial that he is a Reagan Republican.

The commercial uses video of Romney from a 1994 Senate debate with Senator Ted Kennedy featuring such comments as, “I was independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I’m not trying to return to Reagan-Bush” and “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.”

“Whether it’s taxes, immigration, education, gay rights, gun ownership, stem cell research, abortion, campaign finance reform, or other key issues, Mitt Romney has a long list of flip-flops.

“The American people don’t trust Massachusetts flip-floppers, whether they’re Democrats or Republicans,” said Log Cabin Republicans President Patrick Sammon.

On the surface, the advertisement appears to be a deceptively positive commercial in support of Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts.

The ad begins with a narrator statement, “For years, he’s fought conservatives and religious extremists” and ends with the statement, “a record fighting the religious right, a pro-choice record, Massachussets values, Mitt Romney”.

For those uneducated about Romney’s recent political record, or unfamiliar with the Log Cabin Republicans, the ad could be easily be mistaken for a positive commerical, perhaps paid for by a Romney-supportive Republican PAC.

In a sense, the positive interpretation of Romney’s past political statements is exactly what the Log Cabin Republicans are going for.

In essence, the gay Republican organisation is showing its support for Romney’s previous political stances while condemning his more recent actions on the issues in question.

“As much as Governor Romney wants to re-invent himself, his record speaks for itself,” Sammon continued.

“The Mitt Romney of today is different from the Mitt Romney who was elected Massachusetts Governor and ran for the U.S. Senate.

“Romney may have forgotten what he used to believe, but Republicans won’t forget.”

In response to the launch of the commercial, Romney spokesman Kevin Madden issued a statement saying:

“As Governor Romney has repeatedly made clear, like many other Republicans including Ronald Reagan, he wasn’t always pro-life.

“Governor Romney has said he was wrong and hopes he never stops learning from his mistakes or trying to do what’s right.”

The statement from Romney’s camp also accuses the Log Cabin Republicans of showing their favouritism for his opponent, Rudy Giuliani, by attacking Romney’s political record.

“This personal, negative attack was launched and paid for by a group recognised as having Mayor Giuliani as their ‘favourite’ candidate,” Madden said.

“Governor Romney supports a federal marriage amendment and so it makes sense that a national gay rights group would attack him.

“The advertisement misrepresents Governor Romney’s courage to admit that he had been wrong on this issue and the fact that he is proud of his strong record of defending the sanctity of life.”

Interestingly, the commercial completely avoids touching on gay marriage or other gay rights issues, though the Log Cabin Republicans claim Romney has ‘flip-flopped’ on that subject as well.

As the advertisement is meant to sway traditionally conservative Republicans away from support of Romney, it is unsurprising that gay rights were not addressed in the commercial.

Any mention of Romney being against equal rights for homosexuals is thought to be a possible boon for the candidate, not a detraction, even if he has, as the Log Cabin Republicans claim, formerly been more supportive of gay rights.

However, a gay political organisation avoiding the opportunity to address Romney’s view on gay rights could be construed as a cop-out to gay constituents, especially as Romney has recently been running radio ads declaring himself as the only GOP candidate in support of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Log Cabin Republicans President Patrick Sammon, however, offered up a different explanation for why gay marriage and homosexual equal rights were not included in the commercial in his response to Madden’s statement.

“Our ad has nothing to do with marriage because every major presidential candidate of both parties has the same position on marriage for same-sex couples as Governor Romney – they oppose it. If this was about marriage, we could be running ads against any number of candidates and the Romney campaign knows that.

“The Romney campaign is trying to attack Log Cabin rather than address the Governor’s huge credibility problem,” Sammon said. “His response ignores the point of the ad.”

The gay Republicans attack against Romney could turn out to be a positive for the candidate, according to speculation by some political pundits.

A New York Times blog post by Jim Rutenerg theorised that “even those conservatives who will buy into the flip-flop claim may take heart that he has ‘flip flopped’ to their way of seeing things.”

Laura Vess © 2007; All Rights Reserved

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