VIDEO: The Flip Flops Of Mitt Romney
But that was before Mitt Romney decided to run for president and court the vote of the insane people at the base of the Republican party.
Though Romney's policy shifts have become widely known, his meetings with activists for abortion rights and other causes — which have received far less attention — show he put much work into winning support from Massachusetts' liberal establishment only a few years ago.
Making personal appeals on the state's liberal touchstones — gay rights, abortion rights and the environment — Romney developed a persuasive style, convincing audiences that his passion matched theirs and that he was committed to their causes.
He impressed environmentalists by using rhetoric sharper than theirs. He met gay-rights activists on their turf, in a restaurant attached to a popular gay bar, and told skeptics he would be a "good voice" and a moderating force within his party.
And in many cases, he said his commitment had been cemented by watching the suffering of someone dear to him: a grandchild whose asthma left him worried about air pollution; his wife's multiple sclerosis, which had him placing hope in embryonic stem cell research; the death of a distant relative in an illegal abortion, convincing him that the procedure needed to remain legal.
In discussing the need to combat global warming, he said he worried about his family's favorite vacation spot.
"He talked a lot about his kids and his family and the place they go to in New Hampshire on vacation," said Cindy Luppi, an official from the group Clean Water Action, who was impressed by Romney's concern about global warming in a 2003 meeting — and later disappointed when he unexpectedly pulled the state out of a regional compact on greenhouse gases.
"We really see these as promises that were made and broken, and an ethical breach for a person of faith who had worked really hard to create this public image as an upright kind of a family guy."
Politicians are infamous for pandering to one audience or another, but frankly it would be impossible to find a less genuine candidate in all of politics than Mitt Romney.