GREER, S.C. - Mitt Romney reasserted his position as an anti-abortion candidate today, acknowledging that he must clarify his message to counteract the attack ads developed by his GOP rivals that focus on social issues.
"I understand that there are some attack ads coming my way that question that and I think it's important for me to remind people that I am pro-life," Romney said during a news conference at a motorcycle dealership after holding a campaign rally.
"People in New Hampshire know extraordinarily well that I stood for life. It was very highly publicized in New England and particularly in the Boston papers and the Boston stations that I became pro-life, described why I became pro-life. I am proud of that fact and continue to make that message," Romney said when questioned on whether he has purposefully injected the word "life" more frequently into his stump speech since arriving in South Carolina.
In a speech in Columbia, S.C., Wednesday night, Romney adding the clause "protection of life" into the last line of his stump speech.
"I'm convinced that the principles of opportunity and freedom and the protection of life were not temporary but are permanent," Romney said. "And if America's going through tough times, we should not stray from those principles but instead return to them."
Also in the speech, Romney repeated the word "life" twice when speaking about the Declaration of Independence. "Government hadn't endowed us with those rights, the creator did and among them were life, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Romney said.
Romney was met in the Palmetto state by an onslaught of attack ads from the Newt Gingrich campaign and the pro-Gingrich super PAC that labeled him a "Massachusetts moderate," and one that focused on his stance on abortion. The script of the Gingrich ad, "Changed," accuses Romney of having "governed pro-abortion," and says "Romney appointed a pro-abortion judge, expanded access to abortion pills, put Planned Parenthood on a state medical board but failed to put a pro-life group on the same board."
But Romney's own campaign certainly has the bankroll to hit Gingrich back in the days leading up to the Jan. 21 primary, and the pro-Romney super PAC, Restore our Future, has already begun, releasing a new ad this morning titled "Desperate."
The ad refers to Gingrich's various attacks on Romney as "desperate" and "foolish" and a result of all of the former House speaker's "baggage."