By Glen Johnson, Associated Press Writer | April 7, 2007
BOSTON --Officials in the four states where Mitt Romney has lived say the Republican presidential contender, who calls himself a lifelong hunter, never took out a license.
Romney says that's because he has seldom hunted where he needed one.
Questions about his hunting activities trailed Romney this week after he remarked at a campaign stop that he has been a hunter nearly all his life. The next day, his campaign said Romney had been hunting only twice, once as a teenager in Idaho and again last year with GOP donors in Georgia.
That was wrong, Romney said the day after that, adding that he had hunted rabbits and other small animals for many years, mainly in Utah. Hunting certain small game there doesn't require a license.
Romney has been criticized for changing positions on issues such as abortion and gay rights during his campaign for the Republican nomination for president. Although he once supported strict gun control measures, he has spoken in favor of gun ownership rights while on the campaign trail and joined the National Rifle Association as a "Lifetime" member last year.
His staff refused Friday to provide details about his hunting history, including whose gun he used, with whom he hunted and whether he hunted in Utah as a college student or as an adult. He does not own a firearm, despite claiming to earlier this year.
Wow. It's one whopper after another with this guy....And reporters are having a blast with this. AP asked wildlife officials in all the states where "lifelong hunter" Romney has resided for any hunting registrations in his name.
Officials from Michigan, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, where a license is necessary to hunt such small game, said they could not immediately locate any license for Romney. An official in Utah said a change in state law last year blocked public access to license records.
Of the four states, Utah has the most liberal hunting regulations for small game. Jack rabbits can be hunted without a license and killed without limit, but cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares require a license.
When he corrected his staff's statement during a news conference Thursday in Indianapolis, Romney said: "I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter, small varmints, if you will." He added: "I began when I was 15 or so and I have hunted those kinds of varmints since then. More than two times."
Why do I think Romney is including in those "more than two times" the one time he set a mouse trap? Or maybe he's including flies and mosquitoes in the "varmint" category. In which case, we've all been "lifelong hunters."
"Tailoring" your positions to reach a certain group in the electorate is not uncommon. What Romney's doing, the "I'm here! Now there!" bit really doesn't endear folks to his, for the lack of a better word, indecision. And that's what it smells like. But, in reality, it's probably just good ol' fashioned pandering.
Clinton needs to send Mitt the "Pander Bear" that GWHB sent him in the 1992 election.
Oh, I agree. It's pandering. But not all politicians do so as wildly as Romney has done. (I give many props to Rudy Guiliani for not pretending to have had a change of heart on his pro-choice position.)
Romney was pro-choice. Then he was anti-abortion. When he challenged Ted Kennedy for his Senate seat in '94, Kennedy said, "I'm pro-choice. My opponent is multiple-choice."
Romney courted the gay and lesbian vote then challenged the Massachusetts gay marriage law with material right out of Focus for Family's propaganda.
Romney was for gun control. Now that he's trying to appeal to the GOP primary voters, he's a card-carrying, "lifetime," NRA-member--as of this past August when he bought himself that level of membership--the better to re-fashion his image as a pro-gun, pro-god, anti-gay candidate.
I think that the hunting fibs have actually blown the tires off his campaign. Voters are willing to believe that a candidate may have had a change of heart on abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and gay rights--as Romney claims. But at some point, there needs to be a period on the list of topics on which the candidate has changed position. Romney's list is too long, and he's been caught in brazen, flat-out lies on the "lifelong hunter" baloney--stupid, easily-checked-out lies like saying he's a gun owner when he doesn't own a gun.
I honestly don't think his campaign can recover from this. It's sort of Romney's "Dean scream" moment when he becomes more caricature than serious candidate.
Edited by Spectacles, 07 April 2007 - 08:18 AM.