For several days, reports have circulated that attorney Gloria Allred--who always seems to surface when a Democrat is in trouble--is about to drop an “October surprise” on the Romney campaign.
Speculation has surrounded a story published last week by the left-wing website AlterNet, purporting to tell the story of women who claimed Mitt Romney advised them in the 1980s, in his capacity as a church leader, against having abortions.
There is only one problem: the story is not new, and Breitbart News already discussed several aspects of the tale in January 2012, including the false claim that Romney had been insensitive to women in his congregation. One woman he had counseled against having an abortion, and who carried her baby to term, told Vogue in February she was grateful to Romney for his help, though she later decided to leave the Mormon church.
There is perhaps reason to believe that this is the tactic Allred is preparing to use against Romney--and that she may be doing so in coordination with the Obama campaign.
In a speech on Friday in Virginia, President Barack Obama unveiled a new attack against his rival, accusing him of “Romnesia” (Romney + amnesia) about his past positions. The media treated the word as an innovation.
But the term has a prior--and specific--history.
According to the AlterNet article, which was published last Wednesday, “Romnesia” was the term created by Mormon feminists to describe his inability to recall specific details of his advice on abortion to female congregants. (Questions about Romney’s position on abortion, and his role as a church leader, first arose during his campaign for U.S. Senate in 1994.)
That is Obama’s possible original source--the same story Allred may be mining.
In the past several weeks, as Romney has closed the “gender gap” that Obama has enjoyed with women (which is, in reality, a “marriage gap,” as Obama’s edge has been primarily among single women). In response, the Obama campaign has attempted to stir outrage among women, first by attacking Romney’s stance on abortion, then seizing on his “binders full of women” comment at the second presidential debate last week.
If Allred’s intention is, in fact, to use these past stories--which date from thirty years ago, and were first used against Romney nearly twenty years ago--there is not much she could add.
With her characteristic theatrics, however--which included exposing a client to the risk of deportation in 2010--she might hope to provoke an outraged reaction from the media.
It is a good thing the general public has long since stopped paying attention.