The EFM Feature

Eager to position himself as the most conservative GOP presidential hopeful, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney accused Sen. John McCain Monday of being “disingenuous” on gay marriage.
In an interview with The Examiner, Romney described himself as more conservative than Republican rivals McCain, R-Ariz., and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on a variety of issues. “We’re in a different place on immigration; we’re in a different place on campaign reform; we’re in a different place on same–sex marriage; we’re in a different place on the president’s policy on interrogation of detainees,” Romney said.
“I’m a conservative Republican, there’s no question about that,” he said. “I’m at a different place than the other two.”
National Journal’s Hotline, a compendium of insider political analysis, predicted Monday that “Romney will run squarely to the right of John McCain and Rudy Giuliani in what’’s fast become a three-man GOP race.”
When told of this prediction, Romney pointed out that only two of those men, he and McCain, “have spent some time building a fundraising network and a ground team, if you will, to run a national campaign … over the last year or two.”
“Mayor Giuliani has not done that yet,” he said. “But his celebrity status would presumably allow him to do that on a fast track.”
Romney also brought up the name of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who said Sunday he would wait until September to decide whether to seek the GOP nomination.
Asked on Fox News whether there was a vacuum of conservative candidates, Gingrich replied: “There’s probably a vacuum, but you have to be fair. Gov. Mitt Romney is working very hard to fill that vacuum, and may well succeed.”
On Monday, Romney reciprocated by saying Gingrich’s “record of conservative thought and bold prescriptions has invigorated our party in the past and I expect will continue to do so. So I think he’s a strong addition to the field.”
Romney was less charitable to McCain, who on Sunday told ABC News: “I believe that the issue of gay marriage should be decided by the states.” McCain also said, “I believe that gay marriage should not be legal.”
Romney seized on the remarks.
“That’s his position, and in my opinion, it’s disingenuous,” he said. “Look, if somebody says they’re in favor of gay marriage, I respect that view. If someone says–like I do–that I oppose same-sex marriage, I respect that view. But those who try and pretend to have it both ways, I find it to be disingenuous.”
A spokesman for McCain could not be reached for comment Monday.
Unlike McCain and Giuliani, Romney supports amending the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage. He also wants to amend the Massachusetts Constitution, although the state legislature this month balked at putting the question of gay marriage to voters.
So Romney will ask the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court this week to force the issue onto the state ballot. That move was criticized Monday by Log Cabin Republicans, a gay political group.
“It’s all about presidential politics, and I think he’s trying to position himself to run in some conservative places,” Log Cabin vice president Patrick Sammon said. “Using gay and lesbian families to score political points is wrong and shameful, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat.”

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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