Mitt Romney in 2002: ‘My views are progressive’

Chris Moody

A nine-year-old local newscast from Mitt Romney's campaign for governor in Massachusetts that shows him adopting the "progressive" label to describe his politics is making the rounds this morning.

"I think the old standby definitions of who votes for which party have been blown away in this campaign," Romney said in a 2002 interview. "I think people recognize that I'm not a partisan Republican. That I'm someone who is moderate and that my views are progressive and that I'm going to go to work for our senior citizens, for people who have been left behind by urban schools that are not doing the right job. And so they're going to vote for me regardless of the party label."

The spot will no doubt be used against Romney, who for years has battled criticism from conservative Republicans over his support of a state government-mandated health care program.

Update: Romney's campaign released this statement from spokesman Ryan Williams in response to the video:

The last thing the Democrats want to do is run against Mitt Romney. That is why they are focused on his campaign and not on the economy. The Democrats are continuing their campaign of deception in their strategy to 'kill Romney.' If anyone has a question of how Mitt Romney will govern as president, they should take a look at his record of creating jobs, cutting spending, and protecting the sanctity of life and traditional marriage. That was his record as governor and that will be his record as president.

Of course, the "moderate" designation was far more common, and acceptable, in Republican circles back then than it is today. In 2004, Romney's top opponent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, boasted that he was traveling the country to put centrists in power over party hardliners.

"Everywhere I've been, I've argued in favor of electing the moderates," Gingrich said at the time. "The key is to elect more Republicans and have a bigger majority and be more inclusive."

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