Former Massachusetts Governor and Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney announces his candidacy at Scamman Farm in Stratham, New Hampshire on June 2, 2011. UPI/Matthew Healey | License Photo
COLUMBIA, S.C., Sept. 6 (UPI) -- Republican U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney pushed more moderate positions during a forum in conservative South Carolina, observers said.
During U. S. Sen. Jim DeMint's Palmetto Freedom Forum on Labor Day, Romney spoke as a candidate focused on the 2012 election against Barack Obama rather than a candidate trying to appeal to primary voters based on ideology, Politico reported.
Asked if he would support using a 14th Amendment interpretation to ban abortion, Romney stressed his support for overturning Roe vs. Wade, which recognized a woman's right to an abortion, but said using the 14th Amendment was not a good idea.
"Could that happen in this country? Could there be circumstances? I think it's reasonable that something of that nature might happen someday, but that's not something I would precipitate," he said. "I believe that we must be a nation of laws, and I believe in supporting the Constitution as I understand it, but I'm not looking to create a constitutional crisis."
The former Massachusetts governor also called for the repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law, but said not all of its provisions -- or regulations -- inherently were bad.
"It's not that we don't want any regulation. We don't want to tell the world Republicans are against all regulation," he said. "Regulation is necessary to make a free market work. But it has to be updated, and modern."
The event provided a chance for DeMint, R-S.C., who likely will have significant influence in the state's primary, and Rep. Steve King, who's likely to have a similar impact on the Iowa Republican caucuses, to appraise the party's presidential hopefuls, Politico said.
Romney's main rival, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, canceled at the last minute to return to his state to deal with wildfires.
The other four candidates invited to the forum were Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Ron Paul of Texas, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and businessman Herman Cain.
Bachmann said she would propose an amendment to ban the abortion, Politico reported. Gingrich said the judicial branch's power on abortion should be reduced.
Quizzed about immigration, Cain stressed the need to "secure the border for real."
Paul spoke about the need for monetary policy reform and advocated bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan.