John McCain seems to have patched things over with his former rival Mitt Romney, but back in 2008, McCain apparently had a war chest of research ready to take him on for the GOP nomination.
  • Adam Chandler
  • John McCain seems to have patched things over with his former rival Mitt Romney, but back in 2008, McCain apparently had a war chest ready to take him on for the GOP nomination.

It’s no secret that a major part of any presidential campaign is smearing one’s opponent: poring over voting records, digging through garbage cans, tracking down ex-mistresses — you do what you’ve got to do. In the contest for the GOP nomination, anything that smacks of hypocrisy, shady dealings, or “socialism” is fair game for a candidate’s team of researchers.

Well, BuzzFeed claims to have found a heaping helping of dirt on current frontrunner Mitt Romney. The website has published a 200-page document that it thinks the John McCain campaign used to discredit the former Massachusetts governor during the 2008 presidential contest.

Included are notes on Romney’s record at Bain Capital and his shifting views about abortion. A few highlights:


• In 1994, Romney Claimed He Supported Legalizing Abortion Before Roe v. Wade Decision. ROMNEY:
“I joined my mother in 1970 when she said she was in favor of legalizing abortion.” (Scot Lehigh, “Romney Labeled A ‘Pretender’ On Abortion Rights,” The Boston Globe, 10/12/94) (p. 14)

• As Romney Considered Run For Office In Utah In 2002, He Told Local Paper He Did Not “Wish To Be
Labeled Pro-Choice.” “After Romney lost the Senate race, he decamped to Utah to run the Winter Olympics.
When it was rumored he might seek political office there, he wrote this in a letter to the editor of the Salt Lake City Tribune: ‘I do not wish to be labeled prochoice.’” (Joan Vennochi, “Romney’s Revolving World,” The Boston Globe, 3/2/06) (p. 14)

• Announcing For Massachusetts Governor In 2002, Romney Reaffirmed His Pro-Choice Position. “[A]s
Governor of the Commonwealth, I will protect the right of a woman to choose under the law of the country and the laws of the Commonwealth.” (Joan Vennochi, “Romney’s Revolving World,” The Boston Globe, 3/2/06) (p. 14)

• Romney Says He “Simply Changed His Mind” On Abortion One Day In November 2004. “On abortion,
Romney says he simply changed his mind. He recalls that it happened in a single revelatory moment, during a Nov. 9, 2004, meeting with an embryonic-stem-cell researcher who said he didn’t believe therapeutic cloning presented a moral issue because the embryos were destroyed at 14 days. ‘It hit me very hard that we had so cheapened the value of human life in a Roe v. Wade environment that it was important to stand for the dignity of human life,’ Romney says.” (Karen Tumulty, “What Romney Believes,” Time, 5/21/07) (p. 15)

• The Doctor, Harvard’s Douglas Melton, Claimed Romney “Mischaracterized My Position.” “Governor
Romney has mischaracterized my position; we didn’t discuss killing or anything related to it. … I explained my work to him, told him about my deeply held respect for life, and explained that my work focuses on improving the lives of those suffering from debilitating diseases.” (Scott Helman, “Romney’s Journey To The Right,” The Boston Globe, 12/17/06) (p. 15)

Confederate Flag/Southern Issues

• Romney Believes Flag Controversy Is State Issue. “A former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, has rarely faced the flag question on the campaign trail so far, but a campaign spokesman confirmed yesterday that Mr. Romney believes it is a state issue.” (Russell Berman, “Flag Of Dixie Divides GOP Candidates,” New York Sun, 4/12/07) (p. 44)

Foreign Policy

• In June 2007, Romney stepped up his criticism of the Bush Administration’s Iraq policy by publicly
denouncing the White House’s comparison of future troop presence in Iraq to our current presence in South Korea. (p. 66)

• Romney hedged on endorsing troop surge and has been criticized for not talking enough about Iraq. (p. 66)

• Romney said capturing Osama bin Laden would result in “very insignificant increase in safety” for America and such effort was “not worth moving heaven and earth and spending billions of dollars” to catch one person. (p. 66)

OK, maybe he had a point there.


• For more than a decade, Romney used services of company heavily reliant on illegal immigrant labor to perform landscaping duties at his home. (p. 87)

• While Romney was governor, state of Massachusetts approved government contract for New Bedford firm raided in early 2007 for massive immigration law violations. (p. 87)

Business Record

• Romney sat on board of directors of Bain portfolio company Damon Clinical Laboratories, which in 1996 was fined over $100 million for Medicare fraud committed during Romney’s tenure. (p. 135)

• Bain Capital owned company named Ampad that purchased an Indiana paper plant, fired its workers and offered to bring them back at drastically reduced salary and benefits — the firings became an issue in the 1994 Senate race when workers blamed Romney for their situation and appeared in Kennedy campaign ads. (p. 135)

• Bain Capital operated steel company called GS Industries which went bankrupt in 2001 after years of labor strife, closing a plant in Kansas City and laying off over 700 workers.