Romney criticizes Obama on abortion


Published: Friday, January 30, 2009 at 6:53 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 30, 2009 at 6:53 p.m.

HOT SPRINGS, Va. Republican Mitt Romney, a potential candidate for the White House in 2012, accused President Barack Obama on Friday of answering to the "most extreme wing of the abortion lobby."

Even if the administration "will say nothing on behalf of the child waiting to be born, we must take the side of life," the former Massachusetts governor told House Republicans at a weekend retreat, according to his prepared remarks.

The GOP lawmakers gathered two days after voting unanimously against a White House-backed economic stimulus bill, and Romney praised them for their opposition.

He said the $819 billion measure that passed the Democratic-controlled House was a plan to "spend and borrow with reckless abandon."

That approach could worsen the current economic crisis, he said, adding, "we could precipitate a worldwide crisis of confidence in America, leading to a run on the dollar ... or hyperinflation that wipes out family savings and devastates the middle class."

Romney dropped out of the presidential race last year after losing several key primaries to Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican who ran against Obama in the fall.

As a candidate, Romney worked to shed an image as a moderate former governor, and his speech touched on numerous conservative themes. Romney campaigned for governor of Democratic-leaning Massachusetts as a supporter of abortion rights only to switch sides on that issue in time for the GOP presidential race.

His reference to abortion followed Obama's decision earlier in the week to permit federal funding to go to international organizations that perform such operations. A ban on such funding had been in effect during the administration of former President George W. Bush.

Romney also questioned Obama's decision to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, which the Bush administration built to hold detainees in the war on terror.

The former governor said some of those released have made appearances in videotapes released by al-Qaida, and asked where Obama intended to send accused terrorists who are let go in the future.

"Will he send them to nations that will release them to kill Americans?" Romney said. "Or will he send them to U.S. prisons to infect our own criminal population?"

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