Priebus defends Romney over abortion comments

The Republican National Committee chairman took to Mitt Romney's defense Thursday, saying the GOP presidential nominee has been unwavering on his position about abortion this cycle.

"I see the flap over this Des Moines Register question. But... there's nothing there there," Reince Priebus said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."

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Democrats argued Romney was being contradictory when he said in an interview Tuesday with the Des Moines Register that "there's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda."

Romney's response came after being asked by the newspaper's editorial board if he "intends to pursue any legislation specifically regarding abortion."

Later in the same interview he said he would reinstate by executive order the Mexico City policy that blocks the use of U.S. foreign aid dollars to carry out abortion in other countries.

And during the primary campaign, Romney maintained he would support efforts to remove funding for Planned Parenthood, a women's health clinic that provides abortion services. Several House Republicans have introduced legislation that would strip funding from the group.

On Wednesday, Romney reiterated his pledge, saying he supported removing the group's funding through the federal budget, which must be passed by Congress.

"I think I've said time and time again that I'm a pro-life candidate and I'll be a pro-life president," he said. "The actions I'll take immediately is to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget."

Priebus on Thursday pointed to Romney's former statements and said nothing has changed in the Republican nominee's position on abortion.

"The fact of the matter is is that Mitt Romney has been absolutely, 100% consistent on this issue, that he's pro-life," Priebus said.

As for why Romney said he was not aware of specific legislation he would pursue as president, Priebus said Romney was talking about current bills in Congress.

"What he's referring to is whether or not there were piles of legislation in the Congress, what specific bills in the Congress in regards to abortion, are you going to be pushing over the next four years," he said.

O'Brien, however, pressed back, saying the question in the Des Moines Register editorial board did not mention current Congressional bills.

In response, Priebus said, "I'm going to keep giving you the same--It isn't a contradiction because he's sitting there in front of the Des Moines Register editorial board. They're talking about specific legislation in Congress. You know what, he is going to have a piece of legislation in his budget that says there isn't going to be taxpayer money used for abortions."

CNN's Rachel Streitfeld and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

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