Mitt Romney‘s former Communications Director claims to have no idea where pink flyers announcing then-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s support of equal rights for gays — despite the fact that they include the tag line “Paid for by the Romney for Governor Committee” — came from. The flyers, along with the news that Romney attempted to court the LGBT community in a senatorial race against Ted Kennedy, made news Sunday at a GOP debate. But a former campaign intern has gone on the record to state the flyers were official campaign literature.
“Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney’s chief spokesman, told The Huffington Post that the flyers were not official literature from Romney’s 2002 run,” reports Sam Stein:
“I don’t know where those pink flyers came from. I was the communications director on the 2002 campaign. I don’t know who distributed them … I never saw them and I was the communications director,” Fehrnstrom said in the spin room after Sunday morning’s GOP presidential debate here.
Fehrnstrom said he had no idea who had distributed the flyers. “I never saw them and I never approved them. I’m not quite sure where they came from.”
Romney’s critics have pointed to the flyer, reportedly disseminated during a gay pride parade in 2002, as evidence that he once presented himself to voters as tolerant of gay rights, on some level. It was referenced repeatedly during Romney’s first run for president in 2008 and was again raised on Sunday, when Romney was asked during the debate to clarify his position on same-sex marriage.
But Buzzfeed proves Fehrnstrom wrong, reporting moments ago that “a former Romney campaign volunteer who is now a fiscal policy scholar at a conservative think tank told BuzzFeed the flyer calling for ‘equal rights’ were in fact campaign literature.”
The Manhattan Institute’s Josh Barro told BuzzFeed he was a college intern for Romney’s campaign at the wage of $150 per month and the task of answering mail to Romney’s running mate, Kerry Healey.
“On pride weekend, the campaign sent a contingent of about a half-dozen of us to the post-parade festival on Boston Common to hand out those flyers,” he said in an email.
“The thing was organized by a full-time staffer,” he said, adding that he couldn’t recall her name.
Sunday at the Meet The Press GOP debate, Andy Hiller, political editor for local Massachusetts TV station WHDH said:
“Governor Romney, I’d like to remind you of something you said in Bay Windows, which is a gay newspaper in Massachusetts, in 1994 when you were running against Senator Kennedy. These are your words: ‘I think the gay community needs more support from the Republican Party and I would be a voice in the Republican party to foster anti-discrimination efforts.’ How have you stood up for gay rights and when have you used your voice to influence Republicans on this issue?”
Romney side-stepped his support of LGBT rights from decades past at the debate, stating unequivocally that he is against same-sex marriage, while insisting he does not discriminate, suggesting that his discrimination against same-sex marriage actually increased gay rights.
Try squaring that circle.
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