Reversing Himself, Romney Endorses Ohio Union Law
As commenter Ponce notes in response to my post this morning, Mitt Romney has now explicitly endorsed Ohio’s Senate Bill 5, the law that places restrictions on public employee union bargaining rights:
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney today declared that he was “110 percent” behind a law in Ohio that limits collective bargaining rights, after refusing to comment on the matter Tuesday.
Romney was roundly hammered by conservatives for refusing, on a visit to Ohio, to endorse a ballot measure there that curtails collective bargaining for public employees. The Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, and prominent pundits all attacked the presidential candidate. Rival Texas Gov. Rick Perry quickly joined them.
Romney is trying to balance his primary strategy and his general election strategy.
“I fully support Gov. Kasich’s Question 2 in Ohio,” Romney said at a campaign stop in Virginia, referring to the Issue 2 referendum that would maintain the law. “I’m sorry if I created any confusion there.”
The episode was especially odd because Romney — as he pointed out in Virginia — endorsed Issue 2 way back in June, on his Facebook page. He was also at a call center for volunteers rallying support for the law when he declined to comment.
As I said this morning, I don’t think that Romney’s Tuesday comments were really stating anything he hadn’t already said about the issue but it’s the way they were interpreted that matters. For Romney, though, this strikes me as a problem mostly because it reinforces the entire “flip-flopper” and political opportunist image he has among Republican activists.