Are the Anti-Romney Abortion Ads Misleading?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 19 2012 2:03 PM

Are the Anti-Romney Abortion Ads Misleading?

Andy Kaczysnki plays a new Obama ad side-by-side with an old Romney answer on abortion. The upshot, according to Kaczysnski, is that OFA ripped Romney out of context, and the "ad edits out that Romney was speaking of a hypothetical situation where it was the consensus of the country to ban abortion. Romney adds 'that's not where we are today.'"

I've started to become the most annoying, pedantic scold there is about context, so I want to agree. But we might be too hung up on the hypothetical. Here's the quote in the ad.

COOPER: If Roe v. Wade was overturned, Congress passed a federal ban on all abortions, and it came to your desk, would you sign it?
ROMNEY: Let me say it, I'd be delighted to sign that bill!

Here's the full exchange. Cooper actually asks the question of other candidates before getting to Romney.

ROMNEY: I agree with Senator Thompson, which is we should overturn Roe v. Wade and return these issues to the states. I would welcome a circumstance where there was such a consensus in this country that we said, we don't want to have abortion in this country at all, period. That would be wonderful. I'd be delighted.

COOPER: The question is: Would you sign that bill?

ROMNEY: Let me say it. I'd be delighted to sign that bill. But that's not where we are. That's not where America is today. Where America is is ready to overturn Roe v. Wade and return to the states that authority. But if the Congress got there, we had that kind of consensus in that country, terrific.

Obama's ad leaves out the "return these issues to the states" line, so, yeah, that's misleading. But Romney's starting premise is that "we should overturn Roe v. Wade." Overturn Roe, and in a vast swath of the country abortion is illegal, immediately. How would Roe be overturned, anyway? By replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a justice who'd vote the way Sam Alito votes. Which Romney has said he's all for doing. For some reason, it's considered "scare-mongering" to tell voters that the next president will appoint judges who'll rule in ways his partisans are going to like. But it's true when the NRA says that Obama appointees are less likely to uphold gun rights, and it's true when pro-choicers say that Romney's justices will probably want to do away with Roe, as he says he does.

So, sure -- misleading edit, but I'm not sure what context would change the fact that abortion faces a legal threat under Romney that it doesn't face under Obama.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?