Virginia Republican leaders appear to be taking a softer approach on controversial social issues, following the GOP election defeats this year in the state for the presidency and a U.S. Senate seat, the Richmond Time-Dispatch
According to the newspaper, Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli, the leading candidate to win the party's nomination for governor next year, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, are both taking what was described as a "less confrontational course on abortion and reproductive rights."
The Times-Dispatch cited a recent gathering of Republican women in Charlottesville, where Bolling said the party should respect the views of abortion-rights proponents within its ranks and to be a bit more thoughtful about how it pursues its anti-abortion agenda.
“I’m a pro-life guy — I have always been a pro-life guy,” Bolling said. “But I understand that within our party we have pro-life Republicans and pro-choice Republicans."
“There needs to be a seat at the table for all those Republicans,” he continued. “Whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, there needs to be a respect of opinions on both sides of the issue.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Cuccinelli said in an interview, “We do need to be open to people of different perspectives as a party.”
“I think that the center of the Republican Party is one that favors life and protects it, but I don’t think we have — and we have to be cautious not to have — an exclusionary mentality for people with differing views,” Cuccinelli added.
The newspaper noted that the comments appeared to be in recognition of the fact that election exit polls indicated that single, unmarried women, young women, and women of color were turned off by some of the conservative, anti-abortion rhetoric and positions from GOP presidential ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
The newspaper also noted that Bolling suggested the party’s fetal ultrasound legislation passed earlier this year to discourage abortions hurt the party and was harmful to the pursuit of an overall anti-abortion agenda.
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