Brownback & Romney on religion, abortion

Kansas Senator/GOP presidential candidate Sam Brownback was in Indianola over the noon-hour, one of the stops on his four-day-long bus tour through smaller cities in Iowa.  The story from the event centers around an email, composed by a Brownback aide, which contrasts Christianity with Mormonism. Here’s the Radio Iowa story, with an audio link at the bottom if you wish to hear the entire conversation Brownback had with a group of reporters.

A few dozen Brownback supporters had gathered in Indianola for the noon-time event.  It was originally scheduled as a picnic on the lawn of the Warren County Courthouse, but a rain storm prompted staffers to scurry and move everything indoors (one reporter who inspected the alternative indoor location described the room’s size as "smaller than my bedroom").

Many of the college-aged people in the crowd were standing outside the courthouse as the rain storm pounded, then concluded, chanting things like: "Who do we back?" — to which the reply was: "Brownback."   There were a few chants about the Straw Poll as well.  Reporters standing in an open garage along the side of the courthouse to protect their gear from the rain offered alternative chants such as "who do we lack? — Brownback" in reference to Brownback’s tardy status.  (He was about half an hour late.)

Once Brownback arrived, he shook a few hands then entered the courthouse and chatted with reporters for a little less than 10 minutes. As Brownback made his way up the stairs to his picnic, reporters were given a tour of Brownback’s bus. 

Brownback Bus

It includes the modern amenities of Internet access, a phone, televisions and lots of electrical outlets. The bus will be Brownback’s home as he attempts to visit 27 smaller Iowa cities in four days — starting today in Oskaloosa.  (That is Charlotte Eby of the Lee Newspapers in Iowa standing in front of the bus following our tour.  Note the rain-slicked street as evidence of the downpour before.)

Romney and Abortion

The McCain campaign emailed a quote to reporters on Friday, the day Romney embarked on his weekend swing through the state.  It is attributed to Danny Diaz, McCain campaign spokesman:  "This week alone, Mitt Romney is on both sides of gay marriage, abortion, pardons, stem cell research, and immigration.  The former Massachusetts Governor seems incapable of taking principled stands, and will say and do anything in his quest for the nomination."

While in Muscatine, at an "Ask Mitt Anything" event in a restaurant called "The Rendezvous," a woman in the crowd asked Romney the following question:  "I’m a little bit concerned about how much emphasis and energy the media has put on you flip-flopping about abortion and so I want to know what you truly believe about abortion and what your stand is on stem cell research."

Romney gave the answer he has been giving on the issue and made no mention of last week’s YouTube finds that Romney’s rivals point to as evidence Romney has waffled back and forth on the abortion issue.  "You know, it’s amazing.  If you go from being pro-life to being pro-choice, the mainstream media doesn’t have anything to say other than, ‘Congratulations.’  But if you do what Ronald Reagan did, or George Herbert Walker Bush or Henry Hyde or I did, why there’s a lot of interest.  Oh, they go into high dudgeon," Romney repeated to the crowd in Muscatine.

"And the answer is just like Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush and Henry Hyde, I became pro-life.  Now, why is that?  Well, I’ve always opposed abortion, personally, but then when I was running for office and there was the issue, well, should government make that decision or the individual themselve and I said, well, we’ll let government make that, excuse me, we’ll let the individual make that decision and I know that’s effectively a pro-choice position.

"And then I became governor and the rhetoric or the issue became reality where I had to make a decision the effected life and it surrounded something known as embryo cloning.  We were looking in our state to make embryo cloning legal.  It had been illegal in the past.  The legislature wanted to make it legal.  They also wanted to make embryo farming legal, which is taking donor sperm (and) donor eggs, putting them together in the laboratory and creating new embryos for experimentation and I looked at that and said, ‘This is just.  It is plain and simply wrong.’

"I had a conversation with some folks about it.  I’ll spare you all the details, but I said look, this is wrong.  We’ve gone too far and a civilized society must respect the sanctity of human life and so I vetoed those bills.  There was also a provision in the bill that would have defined life not beginning at conception but instead beginning at implantation.  I vetoed that as well and now, I’m in a very Democratic state so my vetoed are hard to uphold but I want to make it clear that I am pro-life.  I’m not going to apologize to anybody for having become pro-life and I feel like I’m in good company with people like Ronald Reagan.  Thank you very much."

The crowd applauded.  The next question was about Romney’s executive experience and a request for a "quick resume" from Romney.

Here is the Radio Iowa story about Romney’s Muscatine appearance, headlined Romney has Father’s Day focus on family values.  (Read it and you will begin to understand why Romney is doing so well in Iowa — his themes strike a chord in the electorate, many of whom do not shop at Babies R Us, but instead sew a quilt or knit a baby blanket as a baby gift.  The audible gasps from women in the room when Romney tells that Babies R Us story aren’t unique to Muscatine, BTW.  It’s resonating with other crowds, too.)

Also in Muscatine, Romney’s wife, Ann, recounted her fall in Dubuque a day earlier.  "The stage collapsed on me when I was in Dubuque and I got to actually say:  ‘I fell on Da Butt in Dubuque’ and I’ll never forget that," Ann Romney told the crowd in Muscatine.  The crowd laughed.  She did, too.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.