The Art of the Political Flip-Flop

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Newt Gingrich was for health care mandates before he was against them. Rick Perry was for allowing abortions in cases of rape and incest before he was not. And Mitt Romney has changed his positions on climate change, health care, abortion, and gay rights, just to name a few. In 2004, the caricature of John Kerry as a "flip-flopper" partly cost him the presidential election. Although flip-flopping is almost universally portrayed as negative, these changes of heart sometimes reveal an evolution of ideals and maturity. "When the facts change, I change my mind," John Maynard Keyes once said. "What do you do, sir?"

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses some of the most notorious instances of flip-flopping, and how they were used against candidates.