Mitt Romney on Tuesday appeared to take a giant step toward the center—only to have his campaign slowly walk his official position back toward the right before the day was over.
Speaking with the Des Moines Register's editorial board in Iowa, the GOP challenger suggested that his presidential agenda contains no plans for new abortion legislation, but said he would use an executive order to block federally-funded international nonprofits from providing abortion abroad (an executive order known as the Mexico City Policy, which has been previously favored by past GOP administrations).
"There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda," the GOP hopeful told the paper Tuesday.
After those comments were published online, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul released a statement clarifying that: "Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and he will be a pro-life president." She gave a somewhat more specific answer to the National Review Online's Katrina Trinko earlier in the day, however, telling the conservative outlet that: "Governor Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life."
Now's probably a good time to reread Slate's Will Saletan's examination of Romney's shifting abortion stance. [Update: Saletan now has a new piece up on Romney's latest game of semantics.]