A Romney two-step

The candidate sings a new tune on campaign reform.

By Michael Scherer

Published June 25, 2007 6:03PM (EDT)

At about 10:30 a.m. Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that a portion of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law -- the part banning unregulated issue ads at election time -- was unconstitutional. By 11:03 a.m., the campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had sent out a celebratory press release. "Score one for free speech," Romney crowed in the statement. "McCain-Feingold was a poorly crafted bill."

Romney loves to talk about McCain-Feingold because many Republican voters are still angry at Romney's major rival, Arizona Sen. John McCain, for trying to put restrictions on the power of the wealthy to influence elections. But as I mention in my profile of his stump performance, Romney once claimed to be on McCain's side in the campaign finance debate.

Check out this C-SPAN video from 1994, when Romney ran a losing Senate race against Ted Kennedy. "These kinds of associations between money and politics, in my view, are wrong," Romney says. "And for that reason I would like to have campaign spending limits ... I also would abolish PACs [political action committees] ... I think we have to be much more vigilant."

He sure sounds like he means it. But then, this was all before he raised $23 million in the first three months of 2007, more than any other Republican candidate.

Michael Scherer

Michael Scherer is Salon's Washington correspondent. Read his other articles here.

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