Candidates' Top 5 Flip-Flops

The Washington Post

Top Romney Flip-Flops

1. Abortion. In October 2002, campaigning for governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney said he would "preserve and protect" a woman's right to choose. "You will not see me wavering on that," said Romney, who now describes himself as an abortion opponent.

2. Gay rights. In a 1994 letter to the Log Cabin Republicans, who advocate gay rights, he said he was in favor of "gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly" in the military. He now says it would be a mistake to interfere with the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

3. Gun control. Campaigning for the Senate in 1994, he said he favored strong gun laws and did not "line up with the NRA." He joined the National Rifle Association in 2006 while pondering a presidential run, and he praised the group for "doing good things" and "supporting the right to bear arms."

4. Campaign finance. In 1994, he advocated a spending limit on congressional elections and the abolition of political action committees. In 2002, he supported public financing of campaigns from a 10 percent tax on private fundraising. This year, he said the McCain-Feingold law limiting campaign contributions is an attack on free speech.

5. Immigration. In a November 2005 interview with the Boston Globe, he described an immigration overhaul advanced by John McCain as "reasonable." He now denounces it as an "amnesty plan." In December 2006, he signed an agreement authorizing state troopers to round up illegal immigrants.

Top McCain Flip-Flops

1. Taxes. John McCain was one of two Republican senators to vote against President Bush's tax cuts of 2001, saying that he could not support cuts that benefited the rich rather than the middle class. He now favors making the tax cuts permanent.

2. The religious right. During the 2000 presidential campaign, he attacked Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as "agents of intolerance." He withdrew that remark in a 2006 interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," saying the Christian right has a "major role to play in the Republican Party."

3. Immigration. Last year, he sponsored a bill that would combine a temporary-worker program and a path to citizenship for many illegal immigrants while also increasing border security. He now emphasizes securing the borders first.

4. Roe v. Wade. In August 1999, he told the San Francisco Chronicle that he would "not support repeal of Roe v. Wade" because it would force women to have illegal abortions. He has subsequently said that he was speaking about the need to change the "culture of America" and that he supports the repeal of Roe, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

5. Ethanol. In 2003, he said that ethanol "does nothing to reduce fuel consumption, nothing to increase our energy independence, nothing to improve air quality." Campaigning in Iowa in August 2006, he described ethanol as a "vital alternative energy source, not only because of our dependency on foreign oil, but its greenhouse-reduction effects."


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