ONN‘s exclusive interview with Mitt Romney sparked a mini-controversy on Wednesday, forcing the Republican presidential hopeful to backtrack on what he had said.
In Romney’s interview with the Ohio cable news channel, ONN reporter Jim Heath asked him about a proposed amendment, sponsored by Republican senators Roy Blunt and Marco Rubio, that would allow employers to opt out of providing health care coverage for contraception.
Trying to bat away a discussion about contraception, Romney quickly told Heath that he’s not for the bill.
“Blunt-Rubio is being debated, I believe later this week, that deals with banning, or allowing, employers to ban providing female contraception. Have you taken a position on it?” Heath asked Romney, tripping on his words a little before mentioning that Rick Santorum has come out in support of the bill.
“I’m not for the bill,” Romney quickly answered before saying, “Look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception, within a relationship between a man and a woman, a husband and wife, I’m not going there” (video here).
Romney’s campaign quickly clarified the candidate’s stance on the bill, pointing out that Heath’s line of questioning was confusing.
“Regarding the Blunt bill, the way the question was asked was confusing,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement. “Governor Romney supports the Blunt Bill because he believes in a conscience exemption in health care for religious institutions and people of faith.”
Appearing on Boston talk radio station WRKO following his misstep on ONN, Romney emphasized his support for the bill.
“Of course I support the Blunt amendment,” Romney told WRKO host Howie Carr. “I thought he was talking about some state law that prevented people from getting contraception so I simply misunderstood the question and of course I support the Blunt amendment” (audio here).[Full ONN Interview]