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Mitt Romney tells Scott Pelley of CBS News that Democrats are being "political" when they accuse him of trying to ban abortion because the legality of abortion has "been settled for some time in the courts."

My position has been clear throughout this campaign. I'm in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest and the health and life of the mother. But recognize, this is the decision that will be made by the Supreme Court. The Democrats try and make this a political issue every four years, but this is a matter in the courts. It's been settled for some time in the courts.
So, not only does Romney make no mention of the anti-choice positions he's taken throughout the campaign, not only does he talk about situations in which he personally thinks abortion should be legal, he says anyone accusing him of trying to ban abortion is playing politics because the legality of abortion has "been settled for some time in the courts." In other words, Roe v. Wade has already been decided—let's move on to other issues.

As much sense as it might make to move past Roe v. Wade, try telling the "pro-life" wing of the Republican Party (which is pretty much the entire Republican Party) abortion is a "settled" issue. Try telling them that they should just get over it. If Romney had said that during the primary, he'd have been the first guy on the sidelines. Ron Paul would have had a better chance of winning the nomination—and Romney knows it. That's why he sat down with Mike Huckabee to endorse a constitutional amendment defining life as beginning at conception. Yet now he says the legality of abortion is a "settled" issue and that Democrats should stop talking about it.

In fact, Romney's newest position is remarkably similar to the position he took in 1994, when he said, "I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it." There's difference in the window dressing of his position—back then, he presented himself as pro-choice across the board, today he is talking about being pro-choice in cases of rape or incest or when the life or health of the mother is concerned. (Honestly, can you name a single pregnancy in which the health of the mother is not an issue?)

Nonetheless, despite those differences, the central point Romney made in 1994 was that Roe v. Wade is settled law and that he wouldn't overturn it; today he says Roe v. Wade is settled law, and Democrats should stop accusing him of trying to over turn it. He's come full circle.

Of course, I'm sure this will change as soon as "pro-lifers" hear what he's said. The real lesson with Mitt Romney is that there's absolutely nothing that he says about anything that you can take at face value. Every word he chooses is calculated to serve his own self-interest. His actions are what matter most, and the most important decision he's made as a presidential candidate with respect to abortion is his selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate. And as we all now know, the only difference between Paul Ryan and Todd Akin on abortion is that Paul Ryan has a nicer smile and better abs.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Mon Aug 27, 2012 at 02:48 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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