BOSTON – A new video posted on both YouTube and the Internet by Democrats includes a montage of political moments in which Mitt Romney repeatedly downplays his Republican Party affiliation while running for governor of heavily Democratic Massachusetts in 2002.
"I've been very clear, I think, to people all across the commonwealth, that my 'R' didn't stand so much for 'Republican,' as it does for 'reform,"' Romney said in a Sept. 21, 2002, interview with WBZ-TV.
The montage, posted by the Massachusetts Democratic Party, includes several clips of Romney complaining about the lack of political balance in heavily Republican Utah, where he spent three years while he headed to 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Romney often made that point as he argued for equilibrium in Massachusetts, which tilted to the opposite end of the political spectrum.
"I lived in a place that had a one-party state that was primarily Republican. I thought, `Well, won't that be nice?' The answer is no," Romney told the New Beford Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 16, 2002.
Romney won the gubernatorial election. He stepped down in January after one term.
But Romney's comments during the 2002 race and an unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid in 1994 have provided endless fodder for critics who have complained he has flip-flopped on a variety of issues as he moved from seeking support from liberal Democrats to the conservative Republicans who are pivotal in GOP presidential primaries.
A Romney spokesman brushed off the criticism.
"You know you're making great progress and you're doing things right as a good Republican when the wrong-way crowd in the Democratic Party starts attacking you," said press secretary Kevin Madden.