KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Romney Takes Moderate Position On Abortion, Causes Stir On Both Sides Of Issue

GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has shifted to more moderate policy positions on a number of issues, including health care and abortion.

The Washington Post: Romney Shifts To More Moderate Stances On Taxes, Immigration, Health Care, Education
The final weeks of the presidential campaign are bringing Mitt Romney full circle, back to a question that has tugged at him for nearly two decades: What does he really believe? Although he declared himself "severely conservative" during the Republican primaries, the former Massachusetts governor has been sounding more moderate in recent days. There may be room for argument as to whether Romney's positions are changing. But the emphasis and tone with which he describes them unquestionably are — on issues that include immigration, taxes, education and health care (Tumulty, 10/10).

The Washington Post: Romney Appears To Pivot On Abortion
Mitt Romney, buoyed by recent polls that show him ahead of President Obama after a strong debate performance, appears to have modified his stance on abortion, a key issue among social conservatives, a voting bloc that has been skeptical of the Republican nominee in the past. In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Romney seemed to back away from his antiabortion position, suggesting that he would not actively pursue legislation that would outlaw abortions, a key objective among social conservatives (Henderson, 10/10).

NPR: Romney's Remarks On Abortion Cause A Stir
Just how many abortion positions does Mitt Romney have? Once again, that answer is unclear. This time the confusion began Tuesday, during a meeting with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register. "There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda," Romney said. … But the comment about not pushing abortion-restricting legislation surprised those on both sides of the abortion debate (Rovner, 10/10).

The New York Times' The Caucus: Obama Campaign Says Romney Is Misleading Voters On Abortion
President Obama's campaign on Wednesday accused Mitt Romney of "cynically and dishonestly" trying to hide his real position on abortion and contraception after the Republican presidential candidate said he could not think of any abortion-related legislation that would be part of his agenda in the White House. Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Stephanie Cutter, the deputy campaign manager for Mr. Obama, scoffed at those remarks, calling them a desperate attempt to mislead voters about his real intentions on the subject (Shear, 10/10).

Bloomberg: Romney Risks Base With An Appeal To Center On Abortion
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney pledged to be "a pro-life president," a day after an interview in which he said he doesn't intend to pursue anti- abortion legislation if elected. "I've said time and again, I'm a pro-life candidate, I'll be a pro-life president," Romney told reporters today in response to a question as he campaigned at Bun's Restaurant in Delaware, Ohio. He also said he’d eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood in his proposed federal budget and re-impose a policy banning use of U.S. foreign aid to fund abortions abroad (Talev and Lerer, 10/10).

Politico: Ryan: Romney And I Are 'Unified' On Abortion
POLITICO's Juana Summers reports from Florida: On the day before the Vice Presidential debate, Paul Ryan told reporters here in St. Petersburg, Fla. that he wasn't disappointed by statements that Mitt Romney made to the Des Moines Register, and that his position and Romney's are "unified." "Our position's unified. Our position is consistent and hasn't changed," Ryan told a reporter outside a local ice cream shop here when asked to describe the position between his beliefs and his running mate's. ... Ryan's personal position has been different than the one he has cited on the trail as Romney's, noting that the top of the ticket sets policy. But it is just one of many areas that Joe Biden is likely to highlight when the two debate tomorrow in Kentucky (Haberman, 10/10).

The Hill: Romney Vows To Be 'Pro-Life President'
Mitt Romney sought to reassure anti-abortion-rights groups that he is on their side on Wednesday as he vowed to be a "pro-life president" if elected. "I'm a pro-life candidate. I'll be a pro-life president," Romney said Wednesday during a campaign appearance in Ohio. Romney also promised to end public health funding for Planned Parenthood — a group conservatives oppose because it provides abortions — and to bar U.S. foreign aid from funding the procedures. According to Reuters, Romney said he would stop public funds for Planned Parenthood "immediately" upon entering office. Romney's forceful comments followed an earlier interview in which Romney suggested he would not seek to limit abortion rights through legislation (Viebeck, 10/10).

The Hill: Christie Backs Romney Over Abortion Remark Flap
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Mitt Romney is "pro-life and deeply committed to the issue," defending the GOP nominee from accusations that he misrepresented his abortion views this week. Romney received criticism Tuesday after saying abortion legislation was "not part of my agenda." The former governor has promised to back a variety of anti-abortion measures, and his campaign later clarified that he is "proudly pro-life and will be a pro-life president." For some conservatives, the flap could recall Romney's past as a supporter of abortion rights. But Christie said Wednesday that "there is no change in position for Gov. Romney" (Viebeck, 10/10).

The Hill: Obama Camp: Romney Trying To Hide His Real Views On Abortion
The Obama campaign on Wednesday accused Mitt Romney of trying to "cynically and dishonestly" hide his views on abortion rights after he told an Iowa newspaper that he would not act to restrict them if he wins the White House. Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, said that with 26 days left until the election, Romney has realized his positions "haven't been working for him" and is shifting his views to defeat the president (Parnes, 10/10).

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