Front Page New York Times story on Romney's vote buying strategies.
Coming on the eve of his presidential campaign, Mr. Romney’s contributions could create the appearance of a conflict of interest for groups often asked to evaluate him. All the groups said he had never contributed before, and his foundation’s public tax filings show no previous gifts to similar groups. Its 2006 contributions will become public with its tax filings later this year.
Doesn't influence? Then how would one explain this:
In January, K-Lo posted the quote from Marie Sturgis after Romney gave them fifteen thousand dollars - - -
It’s a view echoed by Marie Sturgis, executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, who says, “Having Governor Romney in the corner office for the last four years has been one of the strongest assets the pro-life movement has had in Massachusetts. His actions concerning life issues have been consistent and he has been helpful down the line for us in the Bay State.”
- - - Subsequently, Marie and MCFL quotes about Romney prior to the fifteen thousand dollar contribution circulated the Internet, including the following:
Similarly, a leading antiabortion group is puzzled: ''We honestly don't know where he stands on this issue," said Marie Sturgis, executive director and legislative director for Massachusetts Citizens for Life.
Sturgis, of the Massachusetts Citizens for Life, said Romney does not have regular contacts with her group. ''If we could, we would," Sturgis said. When he ran for governor in 2002, she said, her group considered him an abortion rights supporter; Romney declined to complete the Citizens for Life questionnaire
The Executive Director for MCFL Marie Sturgis said that her group had never offered an endorsement to Romney. Romney is “not pro-life and does not meet their requirements,” Sturgis said.
Marie Sturgis, legislative director of Massachusetts Citizens for Life said that she has not seen any change in Romney's position on abortion and considers Romney to be an abortion-rights supporter, according to the Globe.
What happened in the 18 months since March of 2005 that suddenly made Marie Sturgis and MCFL retroactively feel Romney has been a huge pro-life supporter during his entire term? Among other things, Romney forced emergency contraception on Catholic hospitals in late 2005 with no conscience exemption, even though his own Public Health Department said the previous statute provided an exemption. Romney also came out in favor of embryonic stem cell research. Fifteen thousand dollars went into MCFL's coffers.
After Marie's pre-contribution quotes circulated the internet - The Romney people, afraid it would look like they bought MCFL, asked Sturgis to remove her name from this endorsement.
I had knowledge that Sturgis had signed the endorsement - and the rumor circulated that Romney asked that Sturgis' name be removed. When the endorsement came out without Sturgis' name, I called and asked her to confirm the chain of events. Her response? "I don't want to open up that can of worms".
Mr. Romney said in an interview this week and again on Thursday that he supported allowing scientists to use embryos left over from in-vitro fertilization at fertility clinics, a position that goes beyond what President Bush supports. Fertility clinic embryos are likely "going to be destroyed or discarded" anyway, the governor said, so using them for research "does make sense."
But the governor, whose wife, Ann, has multiple sclerosis, a disease that might be helped by stem cell research, said he opposed creating embryos specifically to be used in research, a process known as therapeutic cloning.
Romney's ban is nothing but political posturing. The current debate is not even about the CREATION of stem cells; it is about the use of EXISTING stem cells, of which there is an abundance. Bush has banned the use of all but a few of these existing stem cells, claiming he wouldn't "promote science which destroys life in order to save life." But every year, in fact, thousands and thousands of embryos are destroyed in fertility clinics. They are created in petri dishes as part of fertility treatments like IVF; then they are discarded. Nobody thought much about these discarded embryos until scientists recognized the promise they offered for research. Instead of throwing them out, it was asked, why not find a practical application for them that could perhaps aid human progress?
Again, nobody in the established scientific community is talking about creating embryos right now. Mr. Romney is the only one bringing the issue up. In making his announcement, Mr. Romney muddies the waters of the current debate, clouding the issue and slowing progress - all for his own political gain. It's crass and it's lame.
Instead of fearing an Orwellian future, Mr. Romney should feel right at home in our Orwellian present, after all, his party has led in the creation of this eerily familiar dystopia; an era of unending war, eroding civil liberties, and an authoritarian leadership that holds onto power through the endless promotion of fear. Our government's guiding principles in 2006 seem little different than "1984's: "War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength."
Romney has described himself as a supporter of embryonic stem-cell research since he ran for governor in 2002, and, as recently as last month, he said he would support the Legislature's efforts to promote such research in Massachusetts. But in a letter he sent to Senate President Robert E. Travaglini on Thursday, Romney said that, "respect for human life is a fundamental element of civilized society" and that "lofty goals do not justify the creation of life for experimentation and destruction."
Most human embryonic stem cells used today were created from embryos left over from fertility treatments.
Romney said although he supports the use of embryos left over from in vitro fertilization, which might be discarded anyway,
If Romney was attempting to impress social conservatives, his effort fell flat. Massachusetts Citizens for Life and the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, which have lobbied heavily against the Legislature's previous efforts to approve stem-cell bills, said they oppose the governor's stance because they believe a human embryo is a human being that should not be destroyed, even if it is left over from in vitro fertilization. The National Right to Life Committee, a prominent Washington-based group, agreed.
"I'm not sure there is a lot of difference. If you are taking the stem cell from the embryo for research, you have to destroy the embryo. He's still in favor of killing the new lives that are in existence right now," said Carol Tobias, the group's political director. "If that embryo, that human life, is being destroyed for the research, that is not proper. That is not ethical."
MCFL is lying for Romney - which is a phenomenon that follows a fifteen thousand dollar contribution. If the lies and the money are not connected, why would the Romney people ask her to remove her name from the slim-picking Massachusetts endorsement?
Digging deeper, the prolife community has a lot of questions about puzzling endorsements of national leaders.
For instance, inquiring minds want to know if any money was given to Jim Bopp's interests. Bopp's wongful characterizations of Romney's embryonic stem cell position - along with Bopp's wrongful assertion that Romney has had a love affair with MCFL since 1994 - makes us all curious to know if Bopp's mischaracterizations are accompanied by a donation to The National Right to Life. After all, Bopp's been given the right information and he continues to mischaracterize Romney's positions. In fairness, Bopp did say that he's not sure how much interest Romney will have in abortion after he gets elected - - which certainly sums up Romney's modus operandi perfectly.
In the recently released video of Sucklow, Comstock, Coulter and Romney, all giddy at the CPAC Conference behind the stage, Romney tells Coulter that Dobson is considering backing him. While I doubt that is true, one wonders whether Romney opened his wallet during his visit with Dobson and on the way out the door asked Dobson to consider endorsing him. Still holding the check in his hand, perhaps Dobson said......."Ummm.... we'll just see about that!".