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Photo Renews Debate Over Romney, Abortion

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaks to supporters during a campaign visit to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2007.
AP
Mitt Romney dismissed a picture on the Internet on Tuesday that apparently showed him attending a fundraising reception for Planned Parenthood in 1994 during his Senate campaign.

"I attend a lot of events when I run for office. I don't recall the specific event," the former Massachusetts governor said as he campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination. "I think I've made it very clear. I was pro-choice, or effectively pro-choice, when I ran in 1994. As governor I'm pro-life and I have a record of being pro-life and I'm firmly pro-life today."

Romney's reversal on abortion has dogged him throughout his White House bid, as has the revelation that Romney's wife, Ann, had donated $150 to Planned Parenthood as her husband ran for the Senate more than a decade ago.

ABC News obtained the photograph that showed the Romneys talking with local political activists, including Nicki Nichols Gamble, the then-president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. She told ABC that the event was a Planned Parenthood fundraising "house party" in Cohasset, Mass., in June 1994.

Romney was on a one-day "fly around" of South Carolina, stopping in five major media markets for brief made-for-TV events.

At each stop he renewed his criticism of rivals Mike Huckabee, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani - who are in a contentious race in the first-in-the-South primary state - on illegal immigration, and assailed Huckabee on the number of pardons and commutations he granted as governor of Arkansas.

But he wouldn't outrightly criticize Huckabee for running a TV ad in Iowa that invokes the birth of Christ and has drawn the ire of a Catholic group.

"I don't have a comment on that at this stage. I may later. I'll take a look at the ad," Romney said.

Even so, Romney said it's important that the country unite over its diversity of faith, including "people who don't have faith," and the nation's commitment to religious liberty.

"I hope Governor Huckabee, like all of us at this time, is sensitive to that diversity of faith and the liberty of people's ability to worship God as they choose, and I trust that he and the other candidates will do just that," Romney said.