Harry Reid on GOP 2012 Primary: Huntsman Over Romney

Jun 21, 2011 3:19pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller (@sunlenmiller) and Emily Friedman (@EmilyABC) report:

As Jon Huntsman formally announced his bid for president Tuesday, he received an unsolicited endorsement – that he probably could do better without in the Republican nomination – from Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“In that race, if I had a choice I would favor Huntsman over Romney,” Reid said today talking 2012 politics to reporters at the Ohio Clock stakeout.

But Reid doesn’t have a choice in the Republican primary. Regardless, that didn’t stop the Democratic Majority leader from unleashing on why he believes the former governor of Massachusetts is not cut out for the job of president.

“Here’s a man that doesn’t know who he is,” Reid said of Romney, “He was for gay marriage when he was governor, now he’s against it. He was for abortion when he was governor, now he’s against it. He was — oh health care – we modeled our bill to a large degree on what he did in Massachusetts, and now he’s trying to run from that. If somebody doesn’t know who they are they shouldn’t be president of the United States.”

Romney has certainly shifted his stance on abortion over the years:

During his 1994 run for U.S. Senate against Ted Kennedy Romney said he believed abortion should be safe and legal and then in 2002, when he was running for governor of Massachusetts, he vowed to preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose. In 2005, Romney declared that he had had a change of heart and was pro-life in an oped in the Boston Globe.

Most recently Romney said that he believes “in the sanctity of life from the very beginning until the very end.”

But Reid’s comments about Romney’s changing views on gay marriage are not as cut and dry. Some point to Romney’s 1994 letter to the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts, in which he wrote about his desire to “establish full equality for America’s gay and lesbian citizens” and about how he thinks we “must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern,” as a contradiction to his opposition to gay marriage today.

But the Romney camp upholds that while the former governor has always maintained that discrimination against gays is not right that he has not wavered on his opposition to gay marriage. In 2006, Romney supported the Federal Marriage Amendment that would have defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman and during his current campaign for presidency Romney has said he would support constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Eric Ferhnstrom, a senior advisor to Romney, tweeted following Reid’s remarks, “In case anyone’s confused, Mitt Romney is not seeking Harry Reid’s endorsement, nor would he accept it if offered.”

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