The Obama campaign is a repeat offender with this distortion of Romney’s position on abortion. Then, as now, the Obama campaign rests its claim, in part, on an answer Romney gave during a 2007 debate, when he was asked if he would sign legislation to ban “all abortion” — assuming, hypothetically, that Roe v. Wade had been overturned. He gave a rambling response that ended by saying he’d be “delighted to sign it,” if there was a national consensus for it. But, he said, “that’s not where America is today.” Neither rape not incest were mentioned in the question, or in Romney’s answer. Meanwhile, Romney made clear — both before and after that debate — that his fuller position was that he opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
In what appears to be the Romney campaign's first TV ad responding to Obama's 30,000 false abortion ads, a female narrator points out Romney does not oppose contraception and supports the usual exceptions for abortion. That's fine, but the Romney campaign is making a mistake by not also pointing out Obama's extreme positions in favor of taxpayer-funded abortions and late-term abortion on demand.
A Quinnipiac poll shows that 72 percent of voters oppose Obamacare's abortion funding, and a Gallup poll shows that 86 percent of Americans think late-term abortions should be illegal. Hitting Obama on abortion could also help Romney with working class voters in Ohio and other Midwestern states who are socially conservative but economically liberal:
The Pew Research Center calls these voters “Disaffecteds.” They are lower income, distrustful of corporations, want government to spend more on the poor, and don’t want to see changes to Medicare or Social Security. They are also socially conservative, religious, and distrustful of government. Disaffecteds voted for John McCain over Barack Obama by a 16-point margin in 2008, but voted for Republicans over Democrats by a 38-point margin in 2010. Running against Obamacare could help keep these Disaffecteds in the Republican fold in 2012.
And if Romney hopes to improve his margin among Latino voters, social issues are his best bet. According to a Pew poll from April of this year 75 percent of Latino voters support bigger government, while only 41 percent of the general population supports bigger government. But Latino voters are more strongly pro-life than the country as a whole. The issue played a role in one of the surprise congressional upsets in 2010--Republican Blake Farenthold's victory in a district that was 71 percent Hispanic:
Steve Ray, Farenthold’s pollster and consultant, told me that Ortiz’s vote for Obamacare’s final passage was particularly toxic. Before that, Ortiz had never taken a high profile vote in favor of abortion. Ray thinks that the issue moved a significant number of votes in the heavily Hispanic district that stretches along the Gulf coast from Corpus Christi to the Rio Grande. Strongly pro-life voters “will vote for someone who is pro-life even if they disagree with someone who is against them on every one else,” Ray said. “We actually had signs touting Blake’s pro-life position at the polls, and we heard people would walk out”—voters who couldn’t vote for a Republican but also couldn’t vote for a Democrat who didn’t oppose abortion.
Obama's positions on abortion are so extreme, even moderately pro-choice voters would be alienated--if they knew about them.