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Romney in ‘02: “My Views Are Progressive”

Mitt Romney critics are jumping on this unearthed 2002 campaign footage as proof of…what? That Romney harbors liberal views (beyond the ones we already know about)? That he panders to voters (beyond the examples we already have)?

I’m not sure this video is really as explosive as some think it is, but take a look for yourself:

Here’s the requisite attack from the Perry campaign, and the Romney camp’s sort-of defense. As Dave Weigel points out, “in 2002, ‘progressive’ was years away from being twisted and redefined by Glenn Beck into a synonym for ‘communist follower of Woodrow Wilson.’”

That’s true. The whole “rebranding” of term progressive really caught fire in 2007, after Hillary Clinton publicly declined to define herself as a “liberal,” instead choosing the term “modern progressive.” Even then, there was a lot of confusion among the public about what “progressive” actually meant.

Because the Romney video was shot in 2002, he may just be saying his views are progressive as in “forward-looking,” “enlightened” or some other similar definition of the word. Either way, the Romney in that video was right – he said he was “not a partisan Republican, that I’m someone who is moderate,” and he followed through on that promise once elected. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is for Republican voters to decide.



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