(Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
WASHINGTON – Mitt Romney told CPAC social conservatives on Friday that he is a "severely conservative" presidential candidate and promised that his administration will be a pro-life one.
Romney said if he is elected on Nov. 4, then January will be the "last gasp of liberalism's great failure and a turning point for a new conservative era." He further stressed that his presidency would be pro-life from day one.
"On day one I will re-instate the Mexico City policy, I will cut off funding for the United Nations population fund which supports China's barbaric one child policy, I will ensure that organizations like Planned Parenthood get little or no federal support and I will reverse every single Obama regulation that attacks our religious liberty and threatens innocent life," he announced.
Romney's vow drew a standing ovation.
Though he has long told Americans on the campaign trail that he is pro-life, many conservatives have regarded that claim with much skepticism thanks to his past.
As a candidate for the Massachusetts governorship, Romney vigorously proclaimed himself to be pro-choice.
Several conservatives have come to Romney's defense on the subject of abortion. Conservative pundit and campaign supporter Ann Coulter said Romney made a decision that all pro-life advocates should be proud of; he changed his view to pro-life.
American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas said Friday that Romney changed for the better.
However, Romney lost points with some social conservatives when he refused to sign Susan B. Anthony's pro-life pledge.
On Friday, he made his most forceful case for conservative support yet. His campaign also released a letter during rival Rick Santorum's speech, refuting claims that he enabled tax-payer funded abortion.
"We do not agree with the claims that Gov. Romney is responsible for tax payer-funded abortion under the Massachusetts health care system. That blame lies solely on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court who ruled in 1981 that the Massachusetts Constitution required payment for abortions for Medicaid-eligible women. In 1997, the Court reaffirmed its position that a state-subsidized plan must offer 'medically necessary abortions,'" the letter stated.
Romney also argued that unlike his opponents, he is not a political insider who would not stay in Washington any longer than he had to be. He told the audience that once he was through reforming the American economy as president he would return to his home.
Romney served as governor from 2003 to 2007. Before that he ran against Democrat Ted Kennedy for a seat in the U.S. Senate. He has also run for president of the United States twice now.
He acknowledged that he has served in government, but joked that he "did not inhale."