When Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama reaffirmed to Planned Parenthood this week that he believes elements of sex education should begin in kindergarten, Republican Mitt Romney saw an opening -- and he pounced.
"I was governor four years,' said Romney. "I never had one person coming to me and say, 'You know what, governor, I'm concerned about something.' What's that? 'I'm concerned about sex education. I'm concerned my kids aren't learning enough about sex.' I never heard that."
(Watch Video HERE.)
Romney may have never heard that because Massachusetts -- the state where he served as governor from 2003 to 2007 -- has a decidedly progressive sex education curriculum. Under the state's non-binding framework, school districts can begin working towards the state's sex education goals as early as pre-kindergarten.
By the end of the fifth grade, it not only encourages schools to teach children the basics about puberty and the reproductive system, it also encourages them to know how to define "sexual orientation using the correct terminology (such as heterosexual, and gay and lesbian)." Before the end of fifth grade, the Massachusetts framework also aims to teach children about inappropriate touching.
While Romney had absolutely nothing to do with the development of the state's sex education curriculum, which was put into place more than three years before he became governor, Romney senior advisor Eric Fehrnstrom confirmed to ABC News that Romney did not take any efforts to undo it either.
"We had not awareness, no input and certainly did not promote these curriculum frameworks," said Fehrnstrom, who served as Romney's communications director all four years that he was governor.
Sex education entered the 2008 presidential race when Obama was asked his position on sex education at a Planned Parenthood forum and he mimicked an attack that was launched on him in his 2004 Senate campaign by Republican Alan Keyes.
"'Barack Obama supports teaching sex education to kindergarteners,'" said Obama mimicking Keyes' distinctive style of speech. "Which -- I didn't know what to tell him (laughter)."
"But it's the right thing to do," Obama continued, "to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in schools."
(Watch Video HERE.)
Obama responded to the attack in 2004 by saying that he wants young children, including his own daughters, to know the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching because he has family members and friends who suffered abuse at early ages.
He also indicated in his 2004 campaign that he thought schools needed state standards which could guide them as they face basic questions about the reproductive system.
"Nobody's suggesting that kindergartners are going to be getting information about sex in the way that we think about it," said Obama in 2004, according to a Daily Herald clip provided by the Obama campaign. "If they ask a teacher 'where do babies come from,' that providing information that the fact is that it's not a stork is probably not an unhealthy thing. Although again, that's going to be determined on a case by case basis by local communities and local school boards.'"
Debate Over Meaning of "Age Appropriate"