Florida Sen. Marco Rubio did his best to try to spin the fact that Mitt Romney has consistently had some really extreme stances on birth control and the availability of contraception and on abortion for some time now on this Sunday's Meet the Press. He also tried to whitewash just who would be allowed to discriminate and refuse to cover the cost of contraception if the Blunt Amendment, which Romney supported, had passed.
Last week, President Obama joked that some Romney surrogates are suffering from “Romnesia” — an ability to forget the candidate’s old positions on major campaign issues, in favor of his new positions. On Sunday, during an appearance on Meet The Press, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was presenting severe symptoms of that condition, spending a good portion of his interview trying to explain how Romney’s stances on contraception and abortion have not changed and ignoring the campaign’s efforts to to obscure Romney’s record on women’s health issues.
For instance, Rubio tried to sweep under the rug Romney’s support of the Blunt Amendment, a measure that would have allowed employers with “moral objections” to deny contraception coverage to their female employees. He also refused to say if Romney would “sign a bill that banned abortion,” as the former Massachusetts governor had promised during a GOP primary debate in 2007 [...]
Not only would the Blunt Amendment prevent women from gaining access to abortion, but Romney has also pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act writ large. Doing so, would eliminate provisions that require insurers and employers to offer contraception coverage without additional co-pays. Romney’s pledge to defund Planned Parenthood would also significantly weaken women’s access to affordable contraception. Romney and Paul Ryan have both supported personhood amendments — on the state or federal level — that would outlaw all abortion, as well as some forms of contraception and in vitro fertilization.
Nothing to see here you silly women. Let's move along now and talk about the economy. It seems Rubio was determined not to have ABC's This Week be the only show where he helped Mittens alienate female voters just before the election this Sunday.
Full transcript below the fold.
GREGORY: The President on the campaign trail says there’s a new condition out there called “Romnesia,” which is that Governor Romney is walking away from previous positions. The issue of contraception and abortion seems to be one in the fight for women voters here. And I want to talk that through with you a little bit. I was in Ohio this week, and, of course, you can’t miss the campaign ads there. And this is one-- a part of one that the Romney campaign is running. I want to-- I want to play a portion of it and then discuss it with you. Here it is.
(Videotape; Campaign Ad)
SARAH: Romney doesn’t oppose contraception at all. In fact, he thinks abortion should be an option in cases of rape, incest, or to save a mother’s life.
GREGORY: So two issues there, contraception, access to contraception, and abortion. So let’s separate those two for just a moment. First of all, on the issue of contraception, we know that Governor Romney supported that, measure in congress that would have said to employers, look, you don’t have to provide access to contraception if it violates your own moral code or religious code, to any employer. Now that was not passed. That was the Blunt amendment. But he supported that. And yet, listen to what he talked about in the course of the campaign in this last debate on this very issue. Watch.
(Videotape; second presidential debate, Tuesday)
MITT ROMNEY: I don’t believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not, and I don’t believe employers should tell someone whether they could have contraceptive care or not. Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives.
GREGORY: So I don’t see how both things can be true.
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SEN. RUBIO: Sure.
GREGORY: If he supports a measure that would say to employers you don’t have to provide access and then he’s saying everybody should have access, how do both things become true?
SEN. RUBIO: Well, because-- I think that’s a general statement about most employers. But there are a handful of employers that have conscientious objections to it, for example, the Catholic Church. This is not an issue about contraception. No one is talking about banning contraception. No one is talking about preventing people from gaining access to contraception. This just happens to conflict with a constitutional principle of religious liberty. And for example, the Catholic Church teaches against contraception. And-- and to force the Catholic Church or its institutions to have to pay for something that’s against their religious teachings violates their religious rights. And I think that’s the governor…
GREGORY: But the Blunt amendment said that any employer, Senator, any employer with a reli--…
SEN. RUBIO: Well.
GREGORY: …with-- with a moral objection, religious or otherwise, could-- didn’t have to provide access to contraception. So how is that consistent with him saying that every woman should have access?
SEN. RUBIO: Because obviously, they have to have a well-found-- and it has to be a real objection. And certainly if they-- if they were faking the objection, it would be-- I think they would be pilloried in public-- in public coverage of it. The truth is the Catholic Church, for example, which is the impetus of this, which-- the folks that are leading the charge against this has a well-founded, longtime and historical opposition to contraception. They teach that in the church. And the-- and the Obama ruling-- the Obama administration’s ruling and mandates on this issue run counter to those religious rights, those religious protections that are constitutional principles.
GREGORY: On the question of abortion, true or untrue, Governor Romney has said that he would sign a bill that banned abortion should that come to his desk?
SEN. RUBIO: But, and I think what he’s saying-- he’s laying out very clearly what his record is on. And the ex-- exceptions that he supports. And there’s diversity on those in the Republican Party. But he has also clearly said he is pro-life. He has never run away from his record as a pro-life candidate or a pro-life governor before that. But he is setting clear what he believes the exceptions are that he stands for.
GREGORY: But that he would sign a-- a bill if it came to that to ban abortion.
SEN. RUBIO: He’s pro-life. And he has talked about how he’s pro-life. He also believes in certain exception. And that ad you have just played, what it does is it identifies those exceptions that he believes in.