Remember back in 2004, Republicans lined up for months to dump on Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry’s for changing his positions on issues. Among them was rising GOP star and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who unloaded on his state’s Senator at the Republican convention for five-and-a-half minutes straight over the issue.
“In politics it’s pretty much standard operating procedure that when you’re running for office you look at your opponent’s record, you find some place where he or she has changed position, and you say they’re a flip flopper, and thats a pretty standard thing,” he says in a video of the speech posted on Gawker. “But in this case, this guy really is! This guy is different than you have experienced before.”
As the video continues, Romney offers a bit of amateur psychoanalysis to try and explain the root cause of Kerry’s propensity to sometimes change his position on issues.
“For those who don’t understand how he can be so vacillating, it stems from that fact that he’s very conflicted, that he is drawn in two different directions very powerfully,” Romney said. “If he’s with an audience, he wants to identify with and satisfy that audience, and will say what he thinks they want to hear. And if that audience, for instance, is on one side of an issue he’ll follow that, on another, he’ll follow another.”
The speech in question took place before Romney’s own late-life political conversion from a moderate Blue State governor to a movement conservative in the 2008 presidential race, a switch that his rivals on the right and left alike are mercilessly highlighting in ads and videos. It’s likely you’ll see this clip return with a vengeance if Romney wins the Republican nomination.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.