(CNSNews.com) - A homosexual advocacy group in the GOP has launched a television advertising campaign to tell Republicans that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a 2008 presidential candidate, is "an opportunist, not a conservative."
However, Romney campaign spokesman Kevin Madden said in a statement that the 30-second spot misrepresents the candidate's "courage to admit he was wrong" on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.
Madden also noted that the anti-Romney group favors GOP candidate Rudy Giuliani because of his liberal views on abortion and homosexuality.
Patrick Sammon, president of the homosexual group Log Cabin Republicans, said, "Republicans deserve to know the truth about Romney." Sammon made his remarks in a news release announcing the commercial, which he said would reveal the candidate's "real record."
The advertisement -- which is running nationally on Fox News Channel and in the politically critical state of Iowa -- uses clips from Romney's 1994 debate with Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) to highlight the former governor's stand on three issues: abortion rights, gun control and "his denial that he is a Reagan Republican," said Sammon.
A female narrator's voice begins the spot by declaring: "For years, he's fought conservatives and religious extremists ... Mitt Romney."
The ad then shows the candidate saying in the 1994 debate: "I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. ... I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it.
"Mitt Romney opposed the gun lobby, even Ronald Reagan," the narrator continues.
"I was independent during the time of Reagan-Bush," the former governor says. "I'm not trying to return to Reagan-Bush."
The narrator concludes the ad with the words, "a record fighting the religious right, a pro-choice record, Massachusetts values: Mitt Romney."
"As much as Gov. Romney wants to re-invent himself, his record speaks for itself," Sammon said. "Romney may have forgotten what he used to believe, but Republicans won't forget."
Spokesman Kevin Madden called the ad a "personal, negative attack" that misrepresents Romney's "courage to admit he had been wrong" on some issues despite the fact that "he is proud of his strong record of defending the sanctity of life."
In addition, Madden said the commercial is being run "by a group recognized as having Mayor [Rudy] Giuliani as their 'favorite' candidate" because of the former New York City official's more liberal stance on homosexual rights, include same-sex marriage.
Romney "has said he was wrong and hopes he never stops learning from his mistakes or trying to do what's right," the spokesman said.
Sammon, in his statement, responded that Madden's comments ignore "the point of the ad. It's not just abortion. He has flip-flopped on almost every major issue: taxes, immigration, education, gay rights, gun ownership, stem cell research, campaign finance reform and other issues."
In a reference to Sen. John Kerry, the unsuccessful Democratic candidate in the 2004 presidential election, Sammon added that "the American people don't trust Massachusetts flip-floppers, whether they're Democrats or Republicans."
Cybercast News Service previously reported that the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) did not endorse President Bush for re-election in 2004. They instead shifted their financial and political resources to "defeating the radical right." As a result, the group never ran an ad during that election that was critical of Kerry.
Nevertheless, LCR Communications Manager Scott Tucker told Cybercast News Service that "the basic message we're trying to get out is that the Republicans should learn from what happened to the Democrats."
"John Kerry ran up against a lot of problems when he was seen as shifting his positions on a number of issues," he said. "For Republicans to go down the same road would be a mistake" since Romney is "an opportunist, not a conservative."
The ad does not constitute an endorsement by the group, Tucker said, and it had nothing to do with same-sex marriage because every major candidate of both parties has the same position as Romney - they oppose it.
Not true, Romney spokesman Alex Burgos told Cybercast News Service on Friday.
"Every candidate does not support the Federal Marriage Amendment as Gov. Romney does," he said, and "the Log Cabin Republicans have made it clear that they would go after candidates who support the amendment," which would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Romney's record is clear on this issue because "he's seen the impact of activist judges in Massachusetts," the only state in the country where same-sex marriage is legal, Burgos added.
Tucker emphatically denied that the ad is a result of any collaboration with the Giuliani campaign, though he stated that the LCRs are "certainly engaging all the presidential campaigns on the GOP side."
Still, Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told Cybercast News Service that the advertisement "is actually a clever way to go about helping your favored candidate while damaging his main rival."
"The LCRs realize that a formal endorsement would hurt Rudy with the GOP conservative base," Sabato said. "By attacking Romney, they help Rudy, and yet they leave few fingerprints in either direction."
"Of course, I would expect conservative groups to make clear to their supporters what LCR is and why they are attacking Romney," he added. "It could eventually backfire on LCR and Rudy, but that remains to be seen."
Nevertheless, Burgos said that the ad would not hurt Romney, because "his position has changed in the same way as President Ronald Reagan, Sen. Henry Hyde and President George H. W. Bush," all of whom abandoned pro-choice ideology to become pro-life.
Romney "has made that very clear and has not shied away from that," said Burgos. "If you look at his record as governor, on every issue that came before him, he decided on the side of life."
Make media inquiries or request an interview with Randy Hall.
Subscribe to the free CNSNews.com daily E-brief.
E-mail a comment or news tip to Randy Hall.
Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.