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Obama team accuses Romney of downplaying abortion

October 10, 2012|By Christi Parsons
  • Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign stop in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign stop in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. (Evan Vucci / Associated…)

Mitt Romney turned down the volume on abortion as a priority for his campaign this week, but supporters of President Obama said he is falsely downplaying the issue with voters who don't like his opposition to reproductive rights.

In an interview with the Des Moines Register published Tuesday, Romney said there is “no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

On Wednesday morning, a top Obama campaign official charged that the former CEO is trying to soften his views in an attempt to "close the deal, just like he did in the boardroom.”

“He’s trying to soften his image,” said deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, “not just with women voters but with all voters.”

The Romney campaign pushed back against the early reaction to the Register interview, saying there has been no change in the position Romney staked out in the Republican primary. Romney is "proudly pro-life and will be a pro-life president," a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

PHOTOS: Mitt Romney’s past

Responding to Cutter’s remarks Wednesday, Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg dismissed her critique as a sign of desperation.

"As Barack Obama said in 2008, 'If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from,'” Henneberg said. “Americans are tired of the same old politics as usual, and they won't be fooled by a flailing campaign's manufactured outrage.”

Never slow to raise Romney’s position on abortion whenever it gets the chance, the Obama campaign is also sending Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation, out to talk about that issue in particular.

PHOTOS: President Obama’s past

Running for Massachusetts governor in 2002, Romney said he would "preserve and protect" a woman's right to choose abortion. In his race for president, he says he supports abortion only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

"He not only has trivialized this issue, but is being incredibly dishonest about where he stands,” Richards said Wednesday. “Women just can’t trust Mitt Romney ... to be honest and direct about where he stands.”

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