The Huffington Post fell for Mitt Romney's weasel words:
Mitt Romney Abortion Stance Changes, As Candidate Says He Won't Push To Restrict AccessBut weasel words they are:
Mitt Romney said Tuesday he has no plans to push for legislation limiting abortion, a softer stance from a candidate who has said he would "get rid of" funding for Planned Parenthood and appoint Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade.But look more closely at what he said. All he said is that he doesn't support any anti-choice policy that's currently written up in full legislative language -- or maybe he supports anti-choice policies that are written up in full legislative language, but he's just "not familiar with" them, meaning he hasn't sat down and read the specific bills. And why add that bit about "part of my agenda"? That almost seems like belt-and-suspenders weasel-word overkill: I'm not pushing for any anti-choice legislation as part of my agenda, but if two majority-Republican houses of Congress send me an anti-choice bill that's part of their agenda....
“There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” the Republican presidential nominee told The Des Moines Register in an interview.
A clarification ensued:
The Romney campaign walked back the remark within two hours of the Register posting its story. Spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the National Review Online's Katrina Trinko that Romney "would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life."That's not a walkback -- that's Saul saying in plain English what Romney said if you read between the weasel words.
If Romney's not going to do anything to restrict abortion rights in America, he should say, "I'm not going to do anything to restrict abortion rights in America." But that's not what he said, so that's not what he meant.
UPDATE: Here's William Saletan with the professional version of what I wrote above.