From NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy
As previously reported in First Read, in a statement to the Washington Times this morning, Paul Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation and a Mitt Romney-supporter, speculated that the National Right to Life Committee's endorsement of Fred Thompson for president yesterday could have been motivated by a bribe.
"I think in all probability the Thompson people were engaged with the National Right to Life people in a financial dealing," Weyrich told the Times.
In response, Thompson campaign spokesman Todd Harris released a statement criticizing Romney for being "new to the pro-life movement" and "spreading money around to anyone who will take it."
"Gov. Romney is new to the pro-life movement and his campaign clearly has a few things to learn about it," Harris writes. "First, they should understand that despite their campaign's every effort, groups like the National Right to Life Committee's PAC (NLRC-PAC) cannot be bought. … It is unseemly for the Romney campaign and its supporters to suggest that NLRC-PAC's coveted endorsement is based on a bribe. Second, this unfounded accusation is as outrageous as it is ironic, given the Romney campaign's long history of spreading money around to anyone who will take it.
"If the Romney campaign is looking for the reason they did not receive the NLRC-PAC endorsement, they can start with the fact that Gov. Romney was pro-choice just two years ago. They should also consider the fact that Gov. Romney's own health care plan in Massachusetts offers taxpayer funded abortions for a mere $50 co-pay and requires by law that a representative from Planned Parenthood sit on the MassHealth advisory board. Tellingly, Gov. Romney made no such requirement for a representative from the pro-life movement.
"The Romney campaign was clearly hoping for this endorsement and are now clearly upset. But being denied an endorsement is no excuse to impugn the integrity of the very organization they were just days ago trying to woo."