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Obama campaign: Romney dishonest on abortion

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaks as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (L) claps during a town hall campaign stop at Ariel
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaks as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (L) claps during a town hall campaign stop at Ariel

By Lisa Lambert

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama campaign on Wednesday said Mitt Romney's most recent comments on abortion were examples of the Republican presidential candidate's dishonesty and deception.

Romney told the Des Moines Register late on Tuesday that "there's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda."

A few hours later, the National Review reported Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said "Governor Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life." Then CNN quoted her as saying "Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and he will be a pro-life president."

That led to a blast from Obama's campaign on Wednesday.

"We saw proof of Romney's dishonesty yesterday when he didn't tell the truth about his extreme position on abortion and then got fact-checked by his own campaign," said Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama, on a call with reporters. "He's trying to hide his real position, but there's no hiding when you're president."

Obama's campaign has hounded Romney since last week's debate about misrepresentations it says he made during last week's debate against the president. For example, Obama aides noted that Romney claimed his healthcare plan would cover most people with pre-existing conditions. Shortly after the debate Romney's campaign acknowledged that it would not.

Abortion is especially sticky for Romney. Republicans have long fought to overturn the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion, while Democrats have protected it. His Republican primary rivals questioned Romney's commitment to limiting the procedure, given that he supported keeping abortion legal when he ran for Massachusetts governor in 2002.

The 2012 Republican Party platform added a line to its longstanding anti-abortion clause saying the party supports a "human life amendment" to the Constitution that gives unborn children the same right to life as all Americans.

Cecile Richards, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund president who is volunteering for the Obama campaign, said it was disingenuous for Romney to say abortion is not part of his agenda.

"There's no way for him to hide from his positions he's taken repeatedly over the years - his support for overturning Roe, defunding Planned Parenthood, and ending birth control access for women through their insurance plans," she said. "Women frankly can't trust Mitt Romney and the American people clearly can't trust him to be honest and just direct about where stands."

(Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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