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Romney’s conversion on abortion - Is it authentic?
LifeSite News ^ | June 18, 2012 | Dr. Jack Willke

Posted on 06/20/2012 7:41:28 AM PDT by hocndoc

The conversion of a political candidate prior to an election is naturally met with questions and even skepticism. Mitt Romney has been no exception. It has led even the casual observer to say, “Is this authentic?”

In History

To fully understand why this can be true, we must first review some history. Pro-life conversions have happened in the past at the highest levels of politics. Central to this was President H. W. Bush. As a vice presidential candidate, George Bush changed his position from pro-abortion to pro-life after a lengthy meeting with me.

My relationship with George H. W. Bush, who was to eventually become president, began in August 1980. Mr. Bush and Ronald Reagan had run against each other in the Republican primary. Reagan won that race and was nominated for president at the Republican National Convention in Detroit. During the primary campaign, it was evident the two men did not see eye-toeye on several issues. Most of us had the distinct impression that while Ronald Reagan was quite pro-life, George Bush was not.

At the convention, Reagan—probably for political reasons—chose George H. W. Bush as his vice presidential running mate. This came as quite a surprise to us, and immediately presented a problem. I had just been elected president of the National Right to Life Committee. We very much wanted to have our people support the Reagan ticket, but now it was complicated because his running mate seemed to be proabortion. I decided to see what I could do to change the situation.

On the last day of the convention, I took an elevator in the Pontchartrain Hotel up to the 14th floor, which was Republican headquarters, and knocked on the door. I explained who I was and asked to talk to Mr. Bush. The young lady answering the door seemed somewhat taken aback as I explained that this was important for the upcoming election.

A few minutes later she came back and said, “Mr. Casey will be seeing you.” Bill Casey later became head of the Central Intelligence Agency, and I would become well acquainted with him. We sat and talked for a bit. Mr. Casey was quite sympathetic to our issue, and said that he would arrange for me to meet Mr. Bush.

After about 30 minutes, I was ushered into what obviously had been a committee meeting room. The smoke still hung heavy, and there were a number of folding tables, some with empty drink glasses and cups. Mr. Bush got up from his chair and came over, shook my hand, and we sat down alone in the room. I explained who I was and that we supported Ronald Reagan’s pro-life stand. We wanted to support the ticket, but there seemed to be some real question about his position on our issue. Due to that uncertainty, I didn’t know whether pro-life people would support the ticket.

Mr. Bush thanked me for my straightforward comments and said, “Let me tell you where I stand.” I held up my hand, interrupted and said, “Please don’t. I think perhaps if I could brief you on this entire issue, then you could think this over and I might possibly change some of your thinking. I would like to give you a professional briefing.”

Mr. Bush relaxed, sat back, smiled and said, “I think that is a good idea, Doctor.” He fished for his business card and said, “We are all taking some time off now, but when we get back to Washington, call. I’ll have (he mentioned her name) set you up with an appointment.” I said, “I would like to be very respectful here, sir, but that won’t be sufficient.” “Oh,” he looked at me. “To do this right would take the better part of three or four hours and that is what I’d like to request from you.” He almost swallowed his teeth. “Four hours?” I interrupted and said, “Of course I would like to change your opinion and make you pro-life. I am probably not going to do that. But if I can report in our National Right to Life News that you were so interested in this issue and so respectful of it that you gave me this kind of time, that is going to make a profound impression on our people.” He sat back, mulling this over for a bit. Then he said, “You’re pretty convincing.”

He paused again, then said, “Okay . . . look, I am going back to Kennebunkport, which is our home in Maine, umm . . . let me carve out a time up there and umm . . . here is the person you want to talk to, we’ll set you up there for a morning meeting. Will you come alone?” I said, “I would probably bring one lady with me.” “That’s fine,” he said, “I will have one of my aides with me. We will meet at my home.” “Fine, Mr. Bush, we’ll meet in the morning. My presentation will be medical and scientific with moral overtones. Would you mind then, perhaps after lunch, if I could bring a few other more political people with me? Then we could discuss the campaign.” Another long pause and he said, “All right, let’s do it.”

Several weeks later, I found myself entering the Bush home with my Political Action Committee director, Sandra Faucher. I had brought my trusty Kodak carousel projector and some literature. It was a very pleasant day, which I have never forgotten. The house was on a small peninsula extending into the ocean, and on a bit of a rise. The French doors and windows were all open with a gentle ocean breeze wafting through. Barbara Bush was very gracious, serving iced tea and some snacks. I set my projector on a small coffee table. Mr. Bush was on one side and I on the other. The aide provided a screen and the briefing began. For about three hours, I would speak, then flip on a slide, then speak some more. Mr. Bush would question. I would answer. His aide spoke occasionally, as did Sandy, but basically it was a dialogue between the two of us.

Barbara Bush sat about 10 or 15 feet away, knitting. She only spoke once, asking “Well, what if the life of the mother is in danger?” I answered. She seemed to be satisfied and went back to her knitting.

Lunch was served and then the other pro-life leaders joined us. For another two hours that afternoon we all discussed the campaign. When it was time to go, I said, “Well Mr. Bush, back in Detroit you offered to tell me where you stand. Now I am going to ask you, would you be so kind as to answer?” He smiled, looking at me with an “Okay you did it” sort of look. He said, “I wasn’t here before, but I am now. I will support an amendment to the Constitution to forbid abortion and to overturn Roe v. Wade, but it will be a states’ rights amendment. I can’t support a federal amendment.”

When we publicized this news, the pro - l i f e movement strongly supported the Reagan-Bush ticket and the rest is history.

As of June 1988, Reagan and Bush had served two terms, a total of eight years. I was in the White House with some frequency during those years. Sometimes I met with President Reagan, sometimes with Vice President Bush, and occasionally both. My acquaintance with Mr. Bush grew during those years, and we worked together on several things.

After the Reagan administration, it was a pleasant four years with George H. W. Bush in the White House. We didn’t get everything we wanted, but we got the important things. Every time we asked him to threaten a veto, he did. While we are still not sure that this good man is completely pro-life in his heart, he certainly was prolife in his actions. He was a man of his word.

What does this mean for Romney?

As this is written, Barack Obama has proven to be the most pro-abortion president of modern times and he is now seeking a second term. Former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney, is the presumptive nominee for the Republican Presidential slot in November. Naturally, some have questioned his pro-life credentials and convictions so let’s examine the details of Governor Romney’s conversion.

When he was first elected Governor of Massachusetts, it was generally presumed that his position was “prochoice.” However, about half way into his first term as governor in 2005, Romney announced that he was opposed to embryonic stem cell research and proceeded to veto a bill making the “Morning After,” plan B contraceptive pills available. In the same year, he declared that he was pro-life.

Governor Romney tells us that he changed his mind in November 2004. At that time, he was obviously searching and had questions. He met with Douglas A. Melton, PhD, a scientist from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute on November 9. In that interview the Governor said this researcher told him, “Look, you don’t have to think about this stem cell research as a moral issue because we kill the embryos after fourteen days.” This had a major impact on Romney and his chief of staff, as they saw it recognizing that such embryonic stem cell research in fact was killing what they were convinced were human lives already in existence. Later, through a spokesperson, Dr. Melton disputed that he used the word “kill.”

But Governor Romney, wanting to know more, consulted with one of the best people available in February 2005. This expert was William B. Hurlbut, a physician and professor at Stanford University Medical Center Neuroscience Institute. Dr. Hurlbut is a dedicated pro-lifer.

The two of them met for several hours, discussing the issue in great detail. They went through the dynamics of conception, embryonic development and repercussions of the various research and experimentation that has been going on aimed at exploring the first weeks after fertilization. At that point, Romney was under intense pressure to change a state law that, at the time, still protected human embryos from lethal stem cell research. Some of the pressure came from Harvard, his own almamater. After this in-depth consultation, Romney stated that he was pro-life.

Asked about their meeting by columnist Kathleen Parker, Dr. Hurlbut said, “Several things about our conversation still stand out strongly in my mind. First, he clearly recognized the significance of the i s s u e, not just as a current controversy, but as a matter that would define the character of our culture way into the future. Second, it was obvious that he had put in a real effort to understand both the scientific prospects and the broader social implications. Finally, I was impressed by both his clarity of mind and sincerity of heart. He recognized that this was not a matter of purely abstract theory or merely pragmatic governance, but a crucial moment in how we are to regard nascent human life and the broader meaning of medicine in the service of life.”

Similar to my time with President H. W. Bush, Dr. Hurlbut presented Governor Romney with sound scientific and medical information. The Governor responded by changing his position to support the protection of innocent human life from the point of fertilization. He declared himself pro-life and has repeatedly done so since that time.

For over twenty years, Life Issues Institute has been solely dedicated to prolife education. It has been my primary contribution to the pro-life movement since the 1960s. Our strength comes from the central fact that we are daily changing the hearts and minds of Americans on abortion. And our efforts have greatly be en assisted by science. The tool of ultrasound has resulted in an entire generation having their first baby picture taken within the womb, and it’s greatly impacted people’s opinion on abortion. Every pro-life individual and organization should rejoice when anyone—political or otherwise—responds to the unmistakable fact that human life begins at fertilization and that it should be protected.

Life Issues Institute and I are confident that Governor Romney’s conversion is real, heartfelt and authentic. Since the Institute is a 501(c)(3) organization, we cannot endorse a political candidate. As such, this article should not be construed as an endorsement of Governor Romney’s candidacy but rather a testament to the fact that we believe Mitt Romney is truly pro-life.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: election2012; prolife; romney; willke
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To: Tennessee Nana

Read the article. Dr. Willke outlines a change and the reason for the change in 2004/5. Romney has told the same story many times.

These quotes aren’t on chronological order, but they’re dated:

This is not 1980 or 1970. This is not 1994. This is not 2002. Why ignore Dr. Willke?

41 posted on 06/20/2012 3:04:48 PM PDT by hocndoc ( Have mustard seed, not afraid to use it. Hold Rs to promises, don't watch O keep his.)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

That was then, this is now.

If you’re unable to read the article, it outlines the change after conversations with two stem cell/cloning experts in 2005, one pro-life and one not. He realized that the embryo is a living human being and that scientifically he could only believe that life begins at fertilization.

42 posted on 06/20/2012 3:24:40 PM PDT by hocndoc ( Have mustard seed, not afraid to use it. Hold Rs to promises, don't watch O keep his.)
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To: hocndoc
Spare me. There's no conversion. Willard doesn't give a damn about life issues, only what is expedient to get himself elected at a given moment. No ethics, no morals. Just more lies from a world-class liar and fools rationalizing and excusing him as if he is somehow on the Conservative side. He never was, never is, and never will be a Conservative. What part of that don't you comprehend ?
43 posted on 06/20/2012 3:36:50 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (If you like lying Socialist dirtbags, you'll love Slick Willard)
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To: hocndoc

I dont know if Romney’s conversion is legit or not. He could have really had a change of heart, which would be great. He could be just moving to the pro life side to get elected, which means he’ll probably stay there throughout a first term if that was the case). Or he could be a complete and total liar, and will be just as pro choice as he has always been from the second he takes the oath, and preform the proceedure himself in the west wing on alternate Tuesdays.

One thing I am 100% sure of is Obama’s position on abortion is, and that it hasn’t changed. He is for free and total legalized abortion, regardless of how the woman got pregnant, how far she is into the pregnancy, the age of the woman/girl involved. Obama is for abortion on demand. Period. And he isn’t denying any of it. In fact, he’d wear it as a badge of honor if you asked him.

I can understand being skeptical of Romney. I sure am. I dont know the Dr’s in the article (a little before my time). I sure want a president that is against abortion except in extreme cases (rape, life of mother, etc...). But I just dont see how this issue would make up anyone’s mind to vote against Romney, considering who his opponent is.

If you are one of the folks that in good conscience cant vote for either overall, then as I’ve said before, while I dont agree with you, I understand and respect your right to that position. But if you’re someone for whom abortion is issue #1, then this seems to be a choice between a chance (albeit slight) and no chance.

44 posted on 06/20/2012 3:59:49 PM PDT by SoCalTransplant (Honey badger's level of concern is negligible.)
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To: hocndoc; fieldmarshaldj; daisy mae for the usa; BlackElk; joanie-f; Steve Schulin; Gelato; ...

On the Romney campaign site, to this day, his own words prove that he is not in any true sense pro-life.

Pro-life means that you stand in agreement with the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence, that our individual right to life comes from God, not from any man, and that that sacred right is therefore unalienable.

Romney’s default position, as stated currently, is that whether or not to kill babies is up to the courts. In other words, the practical outcome of his default position is abortion on demand. He calls that “law,” just like he has since he tried to run to the left of Teddy Kennedy for the U.S. Senate in the early nineties. No flip-flopping on this core position for him, no-sir-ee. He is a completely unreconstructed judicial supremacist, in other words anti-republican.

His secondary position is that whether or not to kill babies should have been left up to a majority vote of the people. That is by definition a pro-choice democrat position. One that denies the self-evident truths of the founding of this free republic.

His last and most ridiculous position is a Stephen A. Douglas democrat position if there ever was one, which is that it should be left up to the states whether or not to butcher helpless, defenseless little boys and girls.

Of course the whole package is wrapped up in a thin tissue of pro-life sounding lies, but that is, at its core, where he says he stands, right now.

45 posted on 06/20/2012 4:52:30 PM PDT by EternalVigilance (
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To: EternalVigilance
EV, this post is PERFECT!
46 posted on 06/20/2012 5:03:32 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

Sure, because you “know” Governor Romney. 18 years, wasn’t it?

Most prolife people know Dr Wllke by the results of his work and I was privileged to spend a day with Dr Hurlbut when he testified on cloning and stem cell research in Austin. in addition, I got to watch two days of the President’s Bioethics Council in ‘04. These men are trustworthy.

47 posted on 06/20/2012 5:04:01 PM PDT by hocndoc ( Have mustard seed, not afraid to use it. Hold Rs to promises, don't watch O keep his.)
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To: EternalVigilance

I think most of Romney’s fans know that Romney is not pro-life. Some of his fans like him, anyway. Some of his fans favor abortion. But, I think they all know that his recent pro-life statements are made solely for political purposes.

48 posted on 06/20/2012 5:07:08 PM PDT by Tau Food (Tom Hoefling for President - 2012)
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To: EternalVigilance

You, on the other hand, are completely trustworthy and would apologize immediately if you found out your information was false, right?

How are “Beverly” and “ Davida,” BTW?

49 posted on 06/20/2012 5:08:44 PM PDT by hocndoc ( Have mustard seed, not afraid to use it. Hold Rs to promises, don't watch O keep his.)
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To: wagglebee

So you don’t trust Dr Willke?

“Life Issues Institute and I are confident that Governor Romney’s conversion is real, heartfelt and authentic. ”

50 posted on 06/20/2012 5:11:26 PM PDT by hocndoc ( Have mustard seed, not afraid to use it. Hold Rs to promises, don't watch O keep his.)
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To: hocndoc

Do you ever acknowledge when you’ve lost an argument ? Either you’re denying you’ve been had by a world-class liar like Willard, or you’re abetting the big lie. Which is it ?

51 posted on 06/20/2012 5:14:16 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (If you like lying Socialist dirtbags, you'll love Slick Willard)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

Dr Willke isn’t a lar and neither is Dr Hurlbut.

52 posted on 06/20/2012 5:39:03 PM PDT by hocndoc ( Have mustard seed, not afraid to use it. Hold Rs to promises, don't watch O keep his.)
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To: hocndoc; wagglebee; BlackElk

Mitt Romney is a judicial supremacist, anti-republican, pro-choice, Stephen A. Douglas democrat. It’s all right there on his website, as of tonight.

Those are the facts.

The “pro-life” industry “leaders” who have been covering for this man for five years should be ashamed of themselves.

I’m afraid they’re beyond that, though, sadly.

Why exactly do you think they’re doing this?

You don’t suppose it has anything to do with lots of money changing hands, do you?

53 posted on 06/20/2012 5:42:32 PM PDT by EternalVigilance (
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To: hocndoc

You have an enormous difficulty with following a conversation and an argument. Let’s establish an undeniable fact: Willard is the liar. If Drs. Willke & Hurlbut wish to tie their reputations to a NOTORIOUS liar and worthless political punk, that seriously calls into question their personal judgment.

54 posted on 06/20/2012 5:46:06 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (If you like lying Socialist dirtbags, you'll love Slick Willard)
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To: hocndoc
Dr Willke isn’t a lar and neither is Dr Hurlbut.

Perhaps they should read Romney's own website.

55 posted on 06/20/2012 5:47:03 PM PDT by EternalVigilance (
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To: EternalVigilance

It would be curious if these aforementioned individuals have accepted “donations” from Willard. Using bribery to purchase credibility is his big M.O. It truly is amazing just how cheaply some people are willing to sell their souls to a slick leftist of no morals and ethics like Willard. Once you’ve done it, you can’t get it back.

56 posted on 06/20/2012 5:51:56 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (If you like lying Socialist dirtbags, you'll love Slick Willard)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

Don’t forget that Romney is a leveraged buyout guy. He rarely has to use his own money.

57 posted on 06/20/2012 7:09:02 PM PDT by EternalVigilance (
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To: EternalVigilance


58 posted on 06/20/2012 8:03:54 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (If you like lying Socialist dirtbags, you'll love Slick Willard)
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To: hocndoc; EternalVigilance; GailA; Tennessee Nana; Mountain Mary; wagglebee; little jeremiah; ...
Dr. Willke is no political genius. Nor is he possessed of a reputation for character judgment. He was the long-time head of National Right to Life Committee which gets virtually nothing done other than fundraising but provides swell salaries and perks to its employees.

When Dr. Willke ostensibly ran the NRTLC show, he came to Connecticut to support a package of state legislation jointly endorsed by Planned Barrenhood AND NRTLC's local affiliate, the "Pro-Life" Council of Connecticut run by a semibraindead former Democrat State Senator Regina Smith who doubled as Pro-Life Director of the Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford. The legislative package was pure sucker bait produced by Planned Barrenhood (Can't we all just get along and kill the maximum number of babies?). It repealed each and every pro-life statute (some enacted in the 1860s and others as recently as 1972 or so).

The statutes had not been enforced because of post-Roe vs. Wade fedcourt injunctions but, in the event of Roe vs. Wade being overturned there was a clear path to restoration (virtually automatic) and enforcement. In exchange Planned Barrenhood allowed vague nonsense like counseling by the abortionist's staff. As a result of this fiasco, Smith was fired as $60,000 per year "Pro-life" Director of the Archdiocese by an enraged Archbishop John F. Whealon (who in about 20 years as Archbishop fired practically no one despite many provocations). Regina Smith was also a National Vice President of NRTLC under Willke.

I had a chance to discuss this matter personally with Dr. Willke a year or two later when he came to Connecticut to address a national conference of University Faculty for Life. Out of respect for his previous accomplishments, I did not question him in public but at his car in the parking lot. I asked him how he could have supported such a legislative package when he had left Connecticut after doing so to go directly to another state (Wisconsin?) to support a legislative package there that was 180 degrees opposite of the shameful Connecticut legislation. Dr. Willke admitted that it was one of his worst mistakes and that he had relied on Regina Smith.

NRTLC, then and now opposes such efforts as Operation Rescue and similar exercises of pro-life activism that actually save the lives of innocent babies (according to even Planned Barrenhood's own Alan Guttmacher Institute which admits that 30% of babies scheduled to die at abortion mills on the day of a Rescue are not thereafter aborted. It was the privilege of the Operation Rescue types to be jailed, however briefly, to save those babies' lives. Meanwhile NRTLC's middle class respectability was more important to NRTLC than the babies' lives.

Dr. Willke is not an evil man. He has done yeoman work patiently explaining the facts of pregnancy and the humanity of the unborn for many decades. My impression of him was that he is a good guy. However, that makes me sad that he gets involved with political judgments as to which he is in WAY over his head. On top of everything else he imagines that George Herbert Walker Bush (Bush the Elder) was genuinely converted to pro-life. The fact is that his surrender on the issue was a condition of his nomination for VPOTUS imposed by Ronaldus Maximus. Bush the Elder's mother Dorothy Bush was for many decades on the national board of directors of Planned Barrenhood (serving along side of Peggy (Mrs. Barry) Goldwater. Barbara Bush is no better. George W. Bush (Bush the Younger) is, unlike his forebears a genuine Christian because Christianity was responsible for him abandoning addictions to alcohol and recreational drugs. He also appointed John Roberts as Chief Justice and Sam Alito as Associate Justice of SCOTUS.

I know nothing of Dr. Hurlburt but it sounds as though he should stick to the classroom or the laboratory and leave politics (and amateur psychiatry) to those who are competent in such fields.

There is absolutely NOTHING in Myth Romney's track record to suggest that he is other than a ranting, raving pro-abort monster like both of his parents. He enacted Romneycare in 2006 AFTER claiming to have been converted to pro-life in November, 2004. Romneycare required all employers, including pro-life churches, to pay for abortions ($50 co-pay) no matter how complicated, abortifacient IUDs, abortifacient "morning after" abortion pills, and probably abortifacient regular birth control pills (when my wife was propaganda mistress of a major pharmaceutical company, the scientific reports landed on her desk).

Many people here despise Obozio and that is justifiable and quite understandable. What is neither understandable nor justifiable is blind acceptance of uber pro-abort Myth Romney as somehow a pro-lifer. We are not called by God to be gullible idiots believing what we want to believe in spite of all the evidence. We REALLY want a pro-life POTUS major party candidate. Well, face it folks. We don't have one no matter what lies Myth babbles this year. The only difference between Myth and Obozo on life issues is that Obozo would like to move "forward" to an acceptance of killing them after they are born.

For people who are serious about morality, this year's major party candidates present us with a choice of Caligulas, Neros, Diocletians.

Our Christian predecessors suffered death in the arena (by lions, tigers, bears, gladiators) or by being exposed naked on ice-covered lakes or by being crucified like Peter or being burned as torches wrapped in pitch to illuminate Nero's garden parties. Dare I suggest that we, as pro-lifers, withhold our votes from Obozo AND from Myth Romney?

I won't worship any bloodthirsty Caesar (and both Obozo and Romney are quite bloodthirsty). Will you?

59 posted on 06/20/2012 9:03:38 PM PDT by BlackElk (Viva Cristo Rey! Tom Hoefling for POTUS! Viva Cristo Rey!)
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To: hocndoc; fieldmarshaldj; Tennessee Nana; EternalVigilance

Dr. Jack Willke is not a liar and I'll take your word for it that Dr. Hurlbut is not one either. I've never met him and have no basis for knowing. People can be pathetically wrong without being liars since lying suggests that the speaker actually know what he is talking about and nevertheless intentionally tells a falsehood. If either of these two actually thinks that Myth is a pro-lifer, that would be an example of ignorance of the subject (Myth Romney) and political malpractice.

OTOH, to the extent that either or both are whitewashing the despicable track record of raging pro-abort Myth Romney, either or both are a couple of clueless Pollyannas wishin' and hopin' that the truth about Myth is not the truth. Both are in WAY over their respective heads as is any Romney flak who actually persuades him/herself that Myth is a pro-lifer.

I promise not to practice medicine. They should refrain from practicing politics when they haven't a clue as to what they are talking about.

Your last paragraph is beyond laughable given Myth's actual track record as an enthusiastic babykiller.

60 posted on 06/20/2012 9:28:27 PM PDT by BlackElk (Viva Cristo Rey! Tom Hoefling for POTUS! Viva Cristo Rey!)
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