Iowa Democrats have joined their national party’s effort to cast Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as a serial flip-flopper on issues ranging from gays in the military to immigration reform. The Romney campaign, in turn, accuses Democrats of trying to shift attention away from the economy.
During an early afternoon news conference at Iowa Democratic Party headquarters, State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald said “character matters” to Iowans.
“You expect someone to be running for president to know what they believe in and have their core beliefs,” Fitzgerald said. “Occasionally something can and will change, but when everything changes, something’s wrong.”
The Democratic National Committee is running a “Mitt versus Mitt” television ad in a handful of states, but not in Iowa. However, Democrats organized a series of news conferences in states like Iowa to press the anti-Romney message and Fitzgerald is part of that effort.
“(Romney) consistently changes his position on all the issues and then criticizes the other candidates for having his old position even,” Fitzgerald said.
AUDIO of news conference at Iowa Democratic Party headquarters.
Fitzgerald was an early and very public supporter of Obama’s candidacy four years ago. In February of 2007 Fitzgerald endorsed then-Senator Barack Obama’s bid for the White House during Obama’s first trip to Iowa as a declared candidate.
Last week during a campaign stop in Iowa, Romney told reporters his own ad attacking President Obama had gotten under the skin of the Obama campaign. The ad quotes Obama in 2008 saying, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” Obama’s camp cried foul, as Obama was quoting rival John McCain at the time.
“What’s sauce for the goose is now sauce for the gander,” Romney said of the ad last week.
Former Iowa Republican Party chairman Brian Kennedy, co-chairman of Romney’s 2012 Iowa campaign effort, spoke with reporters in telephone conference call this afternoon, about two hours after the Iowa Democratic Party’s news conference.
“Mitt Romney — with a record of working in the private sector, with an understanding how the real economy works — can get this country moving again and President Obama knows he can’t win that debate, so he’s trying…to change the subject,” Kennedy said. “…It’s clear with that being the number one issue and the central focus to the campaign, that voters see Mitt Romney as a leader on those issues. They see President Obama with a failed track record on those issues.”
(This story was updated with additional information at 3:35 p.m.)