Amid an ongoing battle for women voters in the final days of the campaign, the Romney campaign has faced questions over whether or not Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, would have supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act had he been president in 2009. The campaign has been reticent to answer those questions, however, and at least one adviser who did speak to the issue quickly retracted his statement.
Yesterday, the Huffington Post reported that Ed Gillespie, a top adviser to the Romney campaign, said the former Massachusetts governor had opposed the bill in 2009, but would not repeal it if elected.
"The governor would not repeal the Lilly Ledbetter Act," Gillespie told reporters after Tuesday night's presidential debate. "He was opposed to it at the time. He would not repeal it."
Since then, Gillespie has retracted his statement, noting that Romney "never weighed in on" the Lilly Ledbetter bill at the time. "I was wrong when I said last night Governor Romney opposed the [Lilly] Ledbetter act," he said yesterday, in a statement circulated by the Romney campaign. "As President, he would not seek to repeal it."
When asked about Gillespie's initial assessment hours before he retracted it Wednesday, another adviser to the Romney campaign seemed to be on the same page as Gillespie.
"Gov. Romney fully supports equal pay for equal work for women and for everyone and he would in no way want to repeal or change the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act," the adviser told CBSNews.com. When asked why he had opposed it in 2009, the adviser said that "every bill has certain aspects to it that people might find concerning but the equal pay for equal work part was of no concern."
Romney has stated publicly that he has no "intention of changing" the law, but he has not said whether or not he would have supported it had he been in a position to vote for or sign it in 2009.
"It's certainly a piece of legislation I have no intend- intention of changing. I wasn't there three years ago," Romney told ABC's Diane Sawyer in an interview this April. "I'm not going to go back and look at all the prior laws and say had I been there which ones would I have supported and signed, but I certainly support equal pay for women and -- and have no intention of changing that law, don't think there's a reason to."
Many Republicans oppose the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act because they argue it's about lawsuits - not fair pay. Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate, espoused this position in an interview Wednesday with "CBS This Morning."
"Lilly Ledbetter was not an equal pay law. It was about opening up the lawsuits and statute of limitations," Ryan said. "It wasn't an equal pay law, and of course, we support equal pay," he said.
The Romney campaign did not answer questions about Romney's position on the issue in 2009 or about apparent discrepancies among the campaign on that question.