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Mass. Democrats criticize Romney for current views, ‘flip-flopping’

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s fickle positions on political issues may compromise a potential term at the White House, said officials from the Massachusetts Democratic Party at a press conference on Monday.

At the Massachusetts Democratic Party Boston headquarters, officials further criticized Romney on his opinions of issues, such as stem cell research, healthcare reform, abortion and federal funding.

John Walsh, chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, introduced Phil Johnston, former party chair and former Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services secretary.

Johnston said that unlike former Democratic Party candidate Sen. Edward Kennedy, Romney “apparently thinks that this is acting or that running for the presidency is like being in a movie.

“We got a chance to witness him and his zig-zagging and flip-flopping and the fact that he is a champion political chameleon for four years during his gubernatorial administration,” Johnston said. “The issues are too serious to be switching and zigzagging [in] the way he has done . . . during his public career.”

Johnston said that he does not think American voters will agree with Romney in 2012.

“I dare say that the reason that Ted Kennedy defeated Mitt Romney by 17 points in 1994 was not because everybody agreed with Kennedy on his ideological positions, but . . . that he did have a core and that he did have values and principles,” Johnston said.

He also said that unfortunately, Romney is a candidate “without any core.”

Chair of the Joint Committee on Revenue Rep. Jay Kaufman, of Lexington, said at the conference that Romney has a remarkable skill but not something admired in any form of leadership.

“He apparently is willing and has the skill to say whatever is appropriate for the moment and for the audience he’s speaking to,” Kaufman said. “That’s not what we want in the way of our leadership in this state . . . It’s certainly not what we need in the President of the United States in these troubled times.”

Melissa Kogut, former executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, talked about a meeting she had with Romney when he was running for governor in 2002.

“We left our meeting feeling pretty encouraged,” Kogut said.

However, Kogut said that his good answers to the questionnaires and his promises were soon realized as false and cited Romney’s contradictory statements. She said that he completely switched what his positions were.

“Soon after he became governor, it became clear to us that he was putting his ambitions for the White House ahead of his promises to us,” Kogut said. “As somebody who has heard his statements in the meeting asserting his commitments to the position of reproductive choice, I was beyond shocked to see what his positions actually became.”

Tricia Wajda, director of public affairs of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, said Romney continues to count on empty promises and likeable answers to win votes.

She added that Romney has no credibility to be promising to take federal dollars away from Planned Parenthood.

“He assumes voters aren’t paying attention to his long line of contradictions,” Wajda said. “But we are, and we’ll remember it when we go to the polls.”

Walsh said it is the length and breadth of Romney’s issues that make him different from past presidential candidates who have changed positions.

“The consistency of his inconsistencies is what really makes Mitt Romney unique in that sense,” Walsh said. “Certainly, people do learn and change over time, but Mitt Romney on issues of basic principles has consistently abandoned them, and the only pattern is for his immediate electoral benefit.”

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