Front-running Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney never got a chance in Saturday's debate to weigh in on whether he views waterboarding as torture. (Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain said no, Ron Paul and John Huntsman said yes.) Romney's campaign spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, said on Twitter today: "He wasn't asked but it's not torture.''
That's not what Romney said when he was asked about waterboarding in his last presidential campaign. In a CNN/YouTube debate in 2007, Romney said: "I do not believe that as a presidential candidate it is wise for us to describe precisely what techniques we will use to interrogate people. I oppose torture.'' Asked again by moderator Anderson Cooper if waterboarding was torture, Romney refused to say one way or the other.
That got him a lecture from rival John McCain, the Arizona senator and former Vietnam War hero: "I'm astonished that you haven't found out what waterboarding is...Governor, let me tell you if we are going to get the high ground in this world and we're going to be the America that we've cherished and loved for more than 200 years, we're not going to torture people.''
UPDATE: Asked to explain the discrepancy between what he said on Twitter and Romney's answer in the 2007 debate, Fehrnstrom pointed to other examples in the 2007 campaign when the candidate refused to rule out using waterboarding.