Flashback, 1992: Barbara Bush — Abortion Should Be “a Personal Choice”


How extreme has the political arena become in the last decade, and how much has the Republican party moved to the right?  Here’s a blast from the past to remind us.

Take a look back at this article from the 1992 presidential campaign, a few months before Bill Clinton would eventually defeat President George Bush in his attempted reelection.

Barbara Bush, in stunning contrast with the position her husband has maintained for the last 12 years, contends that abortion is “a personal choice” and that Republicans should drop the rigid anti-abortion plank from the party platform.

In an interview released yesterday with three news magazines, Mrs. Bush described abortion and homosexuality as “a personal choice . . . (a) personal thing.” She said, “The personal things should be left out of, in my opinion, out of platforms and conventions.”

And in another interview yesterday with the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers, Mrs. Bush also leveled a blast at Republican National Committee chairman Rich Bond for his recent attacks on Hillary Clinton, wife of Democratic nominee Bill Clinton.

“I don’t like it,” Mrs. Bush said of Bond’s allegation that Hillary Clinton is “anti-family.”

“I’m not going to lie to you about that,” the first lady said. “I don’t like attacking. . . . She’s not running for office.”

Mrs. Bush has seldom spoken out on policy matters and is almost never at variance with her husband. It was not known whether she had cleared her remarks with him.

But Nancy Sternoff of the National Republican Coalition for Choice saw it as a message from the Bush campaign: “I have no doubt that the campaign has given Mrs. Bush permission to respond to a platform that is punitive and denigrating to women. It is clear that this is a plea to pro-choice women not to defect in November.”

I forgot there even was a National Republican Coalition for Choice.  Needless to say, that appears to be long gone.

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