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MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2007
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EDITORIAL

Mitt Romney a hunter? It doesn’t really matter

We all know Vice President Dick Cheney is a bird hunter because he accidentally shot a friend. We also know he helped misplan and mismanage the war in Iraq. This should tell us that being a hunter does not qualify one to lead the nation.

Nonetheless, Mitt Romney has managed to make hunting a big issue as he stalks Republican votes for president.

“I purchased a gun when I was a young man,” the former Massachusetts governor told a man wearing a National Rifle Association cap in New Hampshire. “I’ve been a hunter pretty much all my life.”

Later, though, his campaign staff admitted that the 60-year-old Mr. Romney had taken exactly two hunting trips: hunting rabbits in Idaho at 15, and shooting quail in Georgia last year. Then the candidate backpedaled in the other direction, saying he had hunted “small varmints” more than twice. But The Associated Press couldn’t find where he bought a hunting license in any of the four states where he has lived. AP said Mr. Romney does not own a firearm.

A Romney aide tried to change the subject to his boss’s support for the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to bear arms.

It’s amusing but sad to see a smart candidate like Mr. Romney, whose past shows that he understands gun issues, pander to the NRA. The NRA does not appreciate nuances. It wants absolute loyalty to its fanatical positions against gun control.

Enlightened candidates and enlightened voters see gun control, like most issues, in shades of gray rather than black and white. And they look at the whole candidate without making one issue a litmus test.

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