(CBS News) There are now just 27 days until the presidential election, and the race is as tight as it can get. Wednesday's Gallup poll of likely voters has President Obama at 48 percent and Mitt Romney at 48 percent.
"Evening News" anchor Scott Pelley speaks with CBS News Political Director John Dickerson, who is reporting from Sidney, Ohio. A transcript follows.
Pelley: John, in the primaries, Gov. Romney took a hard line again abortion except in cases of rape, incest or the health of the mother. But today, he said this in the Des Moines Register: "There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda."
Then, Romney had followed that with this today: "I think I've said time and again I'm a pro-life candidate and I'll be a pro-life president. The actions I'll take immediately are to remove funding for Planned Parenthood."
John, I wonder if you can help us untangle all of this?
Dickerson: Well, this is a very tricky issue for Gov. Romney, who is about to arrive here in western Ohio. He's had a number of positions on abortion. When he was running for governor in the 1990s, he said he would protect abortion rights. But now he has the opposite view. When people heard these comments to the Des Moines Register, they thought he was moderating his position. But if you looked at them closely, it didn't contradict anything that he said in this campaign, and, indeed, his subsequent remarks backed that up.
But Gov. Romney has been moderating his position or emphasizing the more moderate parts recently and downplaying the more conservative parts. He has pledged once in office he'll do everything to restrict abortion rights. This moderation could be the good marketing that all candidates do once they get into a general election have to appeal to a general election audience.
But what the Obama campaign says it's a bigger, broader strategy that on issues from Medicare to taxes to now abortion, Gov. Romney -- who referred to himself as a severe conservative -- is now trying to hide that.