Updated | Thursday, August 30: Includes additional comments from Roy during the program clarifying his remark.
A policy adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Sunday that the Republican activists who write and adhere to the party’s platform, and who will gather in Tampa this week to formally nominate Romney for president, will have “very little” purchase on a Romney presidency if the former Massachusetts governor is elected.
Avik Roy, a health care policy adviser to the Romney campaign, said the GOP platform — which includes provisions like a “human life amendment” to the Constitution that would ban abortions with no exceptions for rape, incest or to save the life of the mother — should not be considered a reflection of Romney’s personal views.
“I think it is a statement of what activists in the party, the consensus among activists in the party believe should be the core of activist conservatism,” Roy said. “But that is different from what a candidate who is appealing to the center of the country is going to try to do.”
Asked how much purchase those activists would have in the White House should Romney become president, Roy said, “very little.”
Roy later clarified his remark, adding: "The base influences things for sure. So, they influence the terms of the debate, they influence the primaries, they influence who gets elected to congress, they influence who staffs an administration. But it’s also true that there is a need to win elections. There is a need to both move the debate in your direction, but also appeal to the people in the center, and that’s the tension. So, as activists your job is to move the debate in your direction. ... The candidates reflect how that debate changes over time."
Former Republican chairman and MSNBC analyst Michael Steele criticized attempts by Romney to distance himself from aspects of the Republican Party platform, as well as the activists who drafted it.
“I know a lot of folks in the base. I’m from the base, I know the base. They don’t want to hear their nominee, as they produce this platform, go, ‘Oh, that’s not my platform,’ or the Republican Party chairman say, ‘Oh, that’s not his platform, that doesn’t mean anything to him,’” Steele said. “They don’t want to hear that.”
Sal Gentile is a segment & digital producer for Up w/ Chris Hayes. Follow him on Twitter at @salgentile.