The Obama campaign today accused Mitt Romney of "trying to hide his real position" on abortion in an effort to woo women voters in the closing weeks of the campaign.
"He's trying to close the deal just like he did in the board room at Bain Capital," said deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter on a call with reporters.
"He's been running on these positions for years," she said. "Women simply cannot trust Mitt Romney."
In an interview Wednesday with the Des Moines Register, Romney said "there's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda." The comment was a marked shift for the GOP candidate who has campaigned as an anti-abortion rights candidate.
"We're not saying that he's changed his mind on these issues," Cutter added, "we're saying he's trying to cover up his beliefs."
Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood Action Fund president, said: "This isn't about flip-flopping, this is about distancing himself from positions he's taken repeatedly."
Cutter and Richards pointed out that Romney has recently said he would be "delighted" to sign a bill banning abortions, called Roe v. Wade one of the "darkest" moments in Supreme Court history, and even penned an op-ed in June 2011 pushing specific legislation on abortion.
"I will advocate for and support a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion," he wrote at the National Review Online. "And perhaps most importantly, I will only appoint judges who adhere to the Constitution and the laws as they are written, not as they want them to be written."
The Democrats also pointed out what they called mixed signals from the Romney campaign in attempts to clarify Romney's stance.
Spokeswoman Andrea Saul told ABC News on Tuesday: "Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and he will be a pro-life president."
Earlier in the day, she told National Review Online: "Governor Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life," even though he suggested in the Des Moines Register interview that he would not make "anti-abortion legislation part of his agenda."
Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said Democrats were trying to "manufacture outrage" over the comments to distract from more weighty issues.
"As Barack Obama said in 2008, 'if you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from,'" she said in a statement. "Americans are tired of the same old politics as usual."
This post has been updated.
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