WASHINGTON, D.C.—Republican front-runner Mitt Romney fired up the base at the Conservative Political Action Conference with a sharp turn to the right to appeal to social conservative wing of his party.
"We fought hard and prevented Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage," the former governor of Massachusetts told the crowd to resounding applause.
Romney added that he vetoed a bill that would have allowed young women to access the so-called "morning after pill" and other emergency contraception, and said he fought to promote abstinence-only education in his state. He also restated his support for the Defense of Marriage Act.
"I will ensure that organizations like Planned Parenthood get no more federal support," he said later.
The social conservative emphasis is a new addition to Romney's public speeches, and is a response to the conservative Sen. Rick Santorum's rise in the poll. Santorum has tried to make social issues a more central component of the Republican race for the presidency, and he appears to have succeeded.