Mitt: ‘progressive’ to ‘conservative’ in 27 months

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Philip Klein

A devastating video has emerged this morning showing Mitt Romney declaring himself as a non-partisan “moderate” and “progressive” candidate as he was courting the liberal Massachusetts electorate in 2002. Yet just over two years after the statement was made, as he geared up toward a presidential run, he started describing himself as a “conservative Republican.”

In the video segment that aired on New England Cable News, Romney can be seen making a late campaign push before his November 2002 election as governor of Massachusetts.

“I think the old standby definitions of who votes for which party have been blown away in this campaign,” he tells a news reporter. “I think people recognize that I’m not a partisan Republican. That I’m someone who is moderate and that my views are progressive and that I’m going to go to work for our senior citizens, for people who have been left behind by urban schools that are not doing the right job. And so they’re going to vote for me regardless of the party label.” (Video, via Hot Air, below.)

But a little more than two years later, Romney already had his sights set on higher office, and he changed his tune. "Being a conservative Republican in Massachusetts is a bit like being a cattle rancher at a vegetarian convention," he quipped when speaking to South Carolina Republicans in February 2005.

That July, Romney declared himself pro-life for the first time in his political career, after running two campaigns as a pro-choicer. And so began the series of conversions we’re all familiar with.

So this really leaves only three possibilities:

1) Romney was lying to citizens of Massachusetts about ideological views he held for decades. (Remember, in his 1994 Senate race, he claimed, “I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush” – which would bring us back to the 1980s.)

2) Between the ages of 55 and 58, Romney underwent a dramatic ideological change from a “moderate”/”progressive” non-partisan Republican to a solid conservative Republican. And that transformation coincidentally occurred around the time he was deciding not to seek a second term as governor of a liberal state and to seek the GOP presidential nomination.

3) He’s lying to conservatives now.

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Philip Klein

Commentary Editor
The Washington Examiner