Mitt Romney became the first Republican candidate to outright reject the social conservative "marriage vow" put forward by the Iowa group the Family Leader. Beaumont reports:
When it was first circulated last week, the introduction to the pledge stated that African American children were more likely to be raised in two-parent households when they were born into slavery than they are today. The group struck that language and apologized after black ministers complained, but it said it stands by the rest of the document.
Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney, told The Associated Press in a written statement Tuesday that Romney "strongly supports traditional marriage," but that the oath "contained references and provisions that were undignified and inappropriate for a presidential campaign."
Bachmann and Santorum have been campaigning hard to court the influential social conservatives in Iowa, which holds the nation's first caucuses. Romney's rejection of the pledge reflects his diminished focus on winning Iowa, where he spent $10 million during his 2008 presidential campaign only to finish second.
It's the second pledge related to social issues that Romney has declined to put his name to. The first was by the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony list, which wanted candidates to commit to issues that Romney said would handcuff him in terms of stripping thousands of hospitals of funding and making federal appointments.
But unlike 2008, Romney isn't running hard to the right on social issues - he's focused his message heavily on the economy.
Newt Gingrich, a social conservative, is declining to sign until some language is changed, and Tim Pawlenty has yet to say what he'll do, providing Romney a measure of cover with social conservatives.
But it's a tacit acknowledgment that Romney, who has changed positions on some social issue stances, is never going to be the favorite of the social conservative right in this particular field. It also puts Romney, who's fought the flip-flopper label, in a position of taking a firm position on it.
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost