Moving to a more moderate position, U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney offered assurance he would not limit abortions.
"There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda," he said in an interview with the editorial board of The Des Moines (Iowa) Register, published Tuesday, in an attempt to soften his prior position and distance himself from earlier statements.
He added that by executive order, not legislation, he would reinstate a policy that bans U.S. foreign aid money from being used to provide abortions, noting that President Obama dropped that policy on his tenth day in office, the newspaper said Wednesday.
Romney's new approach might put him at odds with running mate Paul Ryan, one of the U.S. Congress' most active anti-abortion members, ABC News said.
In a statement to the conservative National Review Online, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul seemed to contradict her candidate, saying, "Governor Romney would, of course, support legislation aimed at providing greater protection for life."
Deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter accused Romney of "trying to soften his image" on the abortion issue, "not just with women voters but with all voters," the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
"He (Romney) not only has trivialized this issue, but is being incredibly dishonest about where he stands. Women just can't trust Mitt Romney... to be honest and direct about where he stands," said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation.
Romney, who was campaigning in Ohio Wednesday, also talked about tax policy, saying he would lower tax rates by closing unspecified loopholes, opening him to charges he would eliminate popular deductions like mortgage interest and charitable donations. In an interview with CNN Romney said he would maintain those deductions, at least for the middle class.
Independent budget analysts say doing so would make it difficult to maintain adequate tax revenue, deepening the federal budget deficit, The New York Times said.
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