CBS’s Pelley Presses Mitt Romney: ‘I Wonder How You Would Explain this Republican Party to Your Father?’

“Some Republicans wonder whether Romney is too moderate for the increasingly conservative party,” CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley refreshingly asked Monday night in veering from the media portrayal of Romney as a far-right ideologue. However, Pelley soon delivered the usual media line that presumed the party is too conservative. “The platform does not allow for exceptions on abortion with regard to the health of the mother or rape or incest,” Pelley told Romney in relaying a Democratic talking point.

Pelley next fretted “this Republican Party that you’re leading is not your father’s Republican Party,” recalling how “he opposed Barry Goldwater in 1964” and was “a passionate advocate for government support for housing for poor people.” Pelley queried: “I wonder how you would explain this Republican Party to your father?”

Of course, George Romney’s Republican Party never nominated him for President and chose the conservative Goldwater as its nominee in 1964 and then selected Richard Nixon, over Romney, in 1968. So wasn’t George Romney the one out of sync with most in the party?

Pelley’s “some Republicans wonder whether Romney is too moderate” line of reasoning seemed to only be conveyed in this odd question: “Some people in your party don’t like you. Are you a candidate for the entire Republican Party?”

From the Monday, August 27 CBS Evening News, transcript provided by the MRC’s Matthew Balan, who corrected the closed-captioning against the video:

SCOTT PELLEY: When Governor Romney accepts the Republican nomination, scheduled on Thursday, it will be a moment that he has been striving for for six years, since he started running in 2007. Some Republicans wonder whether Romney is too moderate for the increasingly conservative party. We talked to Romney about that during a campaign stop in Michigan. We started with the party’s new platform and how it deals with abortion.

PELLEY (from pre-recorded interview): The platform does not allow for exceptions on abortion with regard to the health of the mother or rape or incest. Is that where you are?

MITT ROMNEY: No. My position has been clear throughout this campaign. I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest and the health and life of the mother. But recognize, this is the decision that will be made by the Supreme Court. The Democrats try and make this a political issue every four years, but this is a matter in the courts....

PELLEY (voice-over): We continued our interview with Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann. The campaign had parked nearby a 1964 Rambler convertible, built by American Motors, the company that was run by Romney’s father. George Romney, who died in 1995, was one of the biggest influences in his son’s life. George Romney ran for the GOP nomination in 1968, and later served as housing secretary. He was considered a moderate Republican.

PELLEY, TO ROMNEY: You know, when you think about your father, this Republican Party that you’re leading is not your father’s Republican Party. He opposed Barry Goldwater in 1964, when this car was built. He was for – a passionate advocate for government support for housing for poor people. I wonder how you would explain this Republican Party to your father?

ROMNEY: I think my dad and I were very much on the same page. I’m also a stalwart – an advocate for civil rights and equality, and will fight to assure that people are able to have equal opportunity in America. And many people don’t have an opportunity today to achieve their dreams. That’s unfortunate. That’s something I’ll try and change.

PELLEY: Some people in your party don’t like you. Are you a candidate for the entire Republican Party?

ROMNEY: Well, we’re a big party (laughs). I don't know how many – a hundred million people or so, are Republican, and I’m not sure that everybody is going to think I’m the ideal person...

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center