After refusing to comment on a controversial effort by Ohio Gov. John Kasich to limit public employees’ collective bargaining rights, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday delivered an enthusiastic endorsement of the measure.
“I’m sorry if I created any confusion,” Romney said Wednesday at a campaign event outside a GOP office in Fairfax, Va. “I fully support Gov. Kasich’s – I think it’s called Question 2, in Ohio – fully support that.” He later added that he is “110% behind” the measure.
Romney had sidestepped the topic at a campaign stop in Ohio on Tuesday, when he said he was “not speaking about the particular ballot issues.” Media outlets immediately flagged the “no comment” moment as a signal that Romney might be flip-flopping on an issue, noting that he had indicated support for the measure in a statement posted to his Facebook page last spring.
Romney also seemed to remember that: “Actually, on my website, I think, back as early as April, I laid out that I support Question 2 and Gov. Kasich’s effort to restrict collective bargaining in Ohio,” he said.
“But what I was referring to is, I know there are other ballot questions there in Ohio, and I wasn’t taking a position on those,” he said. “One of them, for instance, relates to health care and mandates. I’ve said that should be up to individual states….I don’t want to tell them what I think they ought to do in that regard – that’s up to them.”
Similar measures have been pushed by the GOP in other states, including in Wisconsin, where the effort sparked weeks of demonstrations earlier this year. In Ohio, the measure has become especially controversial. A recent poll found that 57% of Ohio voters would repeal the law, which is on hold pending a referendum next month.