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Romney Offers '110 Percent' Backing to Ohio Bargaining Bill After Confusion Over Support

FAIRFAX, Va. -- Mitt Romney unequivocally backed Ohio's new collective bargaining law Wednesday, one day after indicating he had no position on the measure that will be decided in an Ohio ballot measure in November.

"I'm sorry if I created any confusion," Romney told reporters, saying he "fully supports" Ohio Gov. John Kasich on "Issue 2," the question on the ballot that gives voters the chance to weigh in on the collective bargaining bill also known as SB-5, which passed the Republican-controlled Legislature and was signed by Kasich in April.

"In regards to Question 2, which is the collective bargaining question, I am 110 percent behind Governor Kasich," Romney emphatically added.

The confusion occurred Tuesday during Romney's visit to a Republican call center in Ohio. When asked about his position on SB-5, the former Massachusetts governor said he didn't have a stance on the issues. This led critics -- Democrats and the campaign of Republican candidate Rick Perry among them -- to accuse Romney of flip-flopping, especially after he had posted a Facebook statement supporting Kasich on the collective bargaining measure earlier this year.

Romney pushed back against accusations of flip-flopping, saying he didn't have a position on other ballot initiatives in Ohio.

"On my website, I think far back as early as April, I laid out that I support Question 2 and Governor Kasich's effort to restrict collective bargaining in the ways he's described, so I fully support that," he said.

As to his earlier statement that he had no position on Ohio ballot measures, Romney explained he was referring to other measures.

"There were other ballot questions there in Ohio, and I wasn't taking a position on those," Romney said. "One of those, for instance, relates to health care and mandates. I've said that's up to individual states. I, of course, took my state in one direction, they may want to go in a different direction. I don't want to tell them what I think they ought to do in that regard, I think it's up to them. So it was with regards to that issue that I didn't want to make a commitment."

Romney was in Virginia Tuesday visiting a Republican phone bank ahead of the state's Election Day on Nov. 8. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican often named as a possible contender for vice president, appeared at Romney's side, but gave no endorsement.

Returning the objectivity, Romney said he wouldn't comment on McDonnell's potential as a running mate. 

"It would presumptuous for anyone in my position, so far from the nomination, to start thinking about who should be vice president. I'm sure that all the people have recognized all the great leaders we have in the Republican Party, and certainly this man is one of them," Romney said, gesturing to McDonnell, "And so is the lieutenant governor. I appreciate being on the platform for them."

Romney also fielded a question about Perry's flat tax plan, which was unveiled the day before. During his speech, the Texas governor took a swipe at Romney's plan, saying, "Others simply offer these microwave plans with warmed-over reforms based on current ingredients."

Romney was more diplomatic in comparing the two plans.

"I like my tax plan better -- as you might not be surprised to hear -- which has a number of features. My view is that the key to a tax policy is to reduce the tax burden on the people who have been hurt most by the Obama economy, and that's the middle class. And that's why my tax plan -- I eliminate capital gains, dividends and interest tax on middle-income Americans. That's where I think we need to focus our effort."

Romney seemed to indicate he'd roll out additional proposals to improve the nation's tax system.

"If I am fortunate enough to get to Washington, I'll lay out some additional ways to make the tax code more flat, simpler and fairer. I think any proposal has to simplify the tax code but the measures that I put in my proposal I think are the best."