John McCain’s criticism of Mitt Romney’s abortion flip was the subject of a post yesterday–Romney was pro-choice as governor of Massachusetts and since running for president has reiterated pro-life positions, justifying his about face with the contention that he was always personally pro-life. While McCain’s gripe was not that Romney was at one point pro-choice but rather that he was inconsistent, let’s take a look at how McCain does feel about pro-choice Republican candidates.

On May 8, in reference to why he thinks Giuliani’s position on abortion could prevent the former New York City mayor from receiving the Republican presidential nomination, McCain told the AP,

“I think it’s one of the fundamental principles of a conservative to have a respect and commitment to the dignity of human life, both the born and the unborn.”

However, as captured in this You Tube video, McCain told CNN several years ago,

“But we all know, and it’s obvious, that if we repeal Roe v. Wade tomorrow, thousands of young American women would be performing illegal and dangerous operations. I want us to be a party of inclusion. I think that we can all be members of the Republican party whether we are pro-choice or pro-life because we share the same goal, and that is the elimination of abortion because it’s an unpleasant and terrible procedure. We think–I think, that we must go back to the party platform of 1980 and ’84, we include people who have this specific disagreements, who share our same goals.” (Unfortunately, this video is not dated, but given the banner across the screen, it’s from some point during McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign.)

Not entirely a flip-flop, but these two statement are not 100% consistent either. McCain admits that at one point the party had room for the pro-choice, but now, he contends that a pro-choice candidate goes against the fiber of conservatism. No to imply the Republican party hasn’t evolved since the CNN interview and that what once might have been acceptable by the party today is not (particularly with the rise of Evangelical support within the party). But we thought it would be helpful to point out this discrepancy, nonetheless.

It’s also helpful to note that USA Today also wrote on May 8 that “Presidential hopeful John McCain says it’s not impossible for a Republican candidate who favors abortion rights to win the nomination, but says such a candidate would face long odds.”

Further, it also doesn’t hurt to reiterate a flip we’ve discussed a few times before in which McCain said in 2000 he would consider repealing Roe v. Wade, but he then completely backtracked these statements. On April 17, we wrote,


Yesterday, John McCain’s campaign sent an e-mail to supporters in Alabama reiterating the Senator’s anti-abortion record. Of particular note is the assertion that, “John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned” (See below for the full e-mail.)

This contradicts statements made by the Senator in his 2000 presidential campaign. On August 19 of 1999, he told the San Francisco Chronicle, “I’d love to see a point where it [Roe] is irrelevant and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary…But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe vs. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to (undergo) illegal and dangerous operations.”

Yesterday’s e-mail read:

“Dear Fellow Alabamian,
This is the first in a series of messages we will be sending to you highlighting Senator John McCain’s Common Sense Conservative Voting Record and Policy Positions. Below you will find detailed information about Sen. McCain’s strong record as a pro-life conservative. For more information about John McCain, please visit his website at
Thank you,
Tim Howe
Alabama State Director
John McCain 2008

John McCain’s Pro-Life Record

John McCain is pro-life and has always fought for the rights of unborn children.

John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned.

John McCain has repeatedly voted against abortion.

The pro-abortion groups NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood have given Sen. McCain a 0% rating for his strong and consistent pro-life voting record.

Sen. McCain voted at least eight times to ban partial birth abortions, including voting twice to overturn President Clinton’s veto of the partial birth abortion ban.

Sen. McCain voted for the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

John McCain will continue to promote adoption.

Sen. McCain cosponsored legislation to prohibit discrimination against families with adopted children, to provide adoption education and to permit tax deductions for qualified adoption expenses.

John McCain will nominate judges who will strictly interpret the Constitution.

Sen. McCain strongly supported the nominations of Justices Roberts, Alito, Rehnquist, Thomas, and Scalia.

John McCain is noted for his long pro-life record.

“McCain has a long record of opposition to abortion rights . . .” (Dan Balz, and Shailagh Murray, “Mass. Governor’s Rightward Shift Raises Questions,” The Washington Post, 12/21/06)

“[H]e is the only Reagan conservative in this race John McCain in 1986 voted to block federal funding of abortion seven times as a U.S. Senator, he voted against partial birth abortion and has voted for parental notification. For me as a pro-life Catholic Republican he is precisely right on the pro-life issues. I think he is very conservative. Very much a true blue consistent on that subject.” Former Gov. Frank Keating (R-OK), (Fox News’, “America’s Newsroom,” 2/20/07″


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