Romney Didn’t Know What the Blunt Amendment Was

<a target="_blank" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/6182516709/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Flickr/Gage Skidmore</a>

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Say you’re Mitt Romney. You believe Obama has declared war on religion. As someone who is trying to be the John Connor of the resistance to the forces of free birth control, you could reasonably be expected to know what exactly, your party is doing to rescue Americans from the fresh Hell of preventive care and minimum essential health benefits. Yet when asked by a reporter, Romney seemed unaware of the two main legislative measures Republicans have deployed to prevent exempt employers and insurers from having to cover birth control. 

When asked about the amendment proposed by Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) this afternoon, as the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent noted Romney told Ohio reporter Jim Heath that he was opposed to it. That was a mistake—one the Romney campaign is walking back by saying that Heath phrased the question improperly when he said that the Blunt Amendment “deals with allowing employers to ban providing female contraception.”

Heath referred to the Blunt-Rubio amendment, but there are actually two seperate amendments—Senator Marc Rubio (R-Fla.) proposed one that deals narrowly with birth control, while Blunt’s amendment, as I reported weeks ago, would allow employers to opt out of providing any benefits mandated by Health and Human Services as long as they have a “moral objection” to doing so. Rubio is also a co-sponsor on Blunt’s bill. Still, Heath’s summary was clear enough, and yet Romney said that he didn’t want to get “into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman.” The GOP line is that coverage for birth control is a matter of conscience, not what individuals do with their own bodies. Unfamiliar with the basic countours of the debate he was wading into, Romney gave what sounded like a suspiciously liberal answer.   

Democrats are accusing Romney of another characteristic flip-flop, but that’s not really what happened here—Romney has since made clear he supports the Blunt amendment. It’s not so much that Romney changed his mind—it’s that he had no idea what Republicans were doing to stem Obama’s free-love apocalypse. Now either this whole “war on religion” rhetoric is entirely overblown, or Romney just doesn’t care enough to be minimally conscious of what’s happening on the front lines. 

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate