Mitt Romney has vowed to help overturn Roe v. Wade. A Romney surrogate quietly told a group of voters last night that's not going to happen. Part of the problem is the contradiction, but the larger point is that the surrogate is wrong.
Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) spoke yesterday to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Beechwood, Ohio, and dismissed concerns about Romney and reproductive rights.
"President Bush was president eight years; Roe v. Wade wasn't reversed. He had two Supreme Court picks; Roe v. Wade wasn't reversed. It's not going to be reversed."
On the surface, there's the obvious problem of Romney saying one thing to the public, then having Romney surrogates quietly offering reassurances to small groups.
The facts are not in dispute: Romney wants to overturn Roe; his platform calls for a constitutional amendment that bans all abortions; Romney said he "absolutely" supports a "Personhood" measure that would ban all abortions and some forms of birth control; Romney would be "delighted" to sign a bill that would no longer allow abortions "at all, period"; and Romney intends to "get rid of" Planned Parenthood. If the campaign is now prepared to offer a different agenda, it should say so.
But there's also the simple matter of arithmetic that Coleman appears to have forgotten.
Yes, Bush added two justices to the high court. As a consequence, there are five justices remaining who seem inclined to protect the Roe precedent. One of those five is 74 years old. Another one of the five is 79 years old.
Coleman would have his friends believe Roe is "not going to be reversed," because, well, just because. That's absurd -- if Justice Ginsburg or Justice Breyer (or both) retire under a Romney administration, Roe will be overturned. It's not complicated; it's just math.