Yep, That Was Brownback Giving Romney The Finger

by TNR Staff, TNR Staff | October 26, 2007

Yesterday I noted that Sam Brownback's meeting with Rudy Giuliani looked like a direct slap at Mitt Romney, as though Brownback were saying he was so convinced Romney was a phony he'd rather support the pro-choice Giuliani instead. Now Greg Sargent has some evidence that that's how it's being received. Reports Sargent:

Jim Bopp, one of Mitt Romney's top social conservative supporters, just lashed out repeatedly at Brownback in an interview with me for his kind words about Rudy's abortion views, accusing Brownback in scathing terms of putting "personal benefit" before the pro-life cause.

"There's obviously something more going on here than fidelity to the pro-life cause," said Bopp, a legendary pro-life activist and lawyer who is an important voice for Romney because he vouches for his conservatism. "Brownback is angling for some personal political benefit by cozying up to Giuliani." ...

"Giuliani is unequivocal -- he wants abortion to be legal," Bopp continued. "Brownback claimed that the raison d'etre of his campaign was protecting human life. "So the only way that you can look at what he is saying now and what he is doing now is that he is prepared to compromise the pro-life movement and cause to advance his own personal political agenda."

I knew there was bad blood between the Brownback and Romney camps, but I thought it might be somewhat mitigated by the respect Brownback's top strategist, Rob Wasinger, had for Peter Flaherty, a top Romney aide. Apparently not. For what it's worth, I heard yesterday from a person friendly with some current and former Brownback staffers who says they absolutely loathe Romney. This person thought Brownback really wanted to endorse McCain, but just wasn't sure he was a viable candidate.

--Noam Scheiber 

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