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Michael Steele: Timing of abortion flap 'could not be worse for the Romney campaign'

Though Mitt Romney has said he supports allowing abortions in the cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger, Republicans drafting the party platform approved language this week that opposes all abortions, with no exceptions. And the one-time top Republican country thinks that's a big mistake.

On The Ed Show, former RNC chair Michael Steele called the plank "a breakaway from what the Republican platform has traditionally said with respect to abortion."

"A vast majority of Republicans across the country, very strong, pro-life Republicans, as well as pro-choice Republicans, have always accepted the idea of the exception with respect to the life of the mother, rape, or incest," added Steele, who has failed to toe the party line numerous times since his tenure as RNC chief ended in 2010.

"The timing, in my estimation, could not be worse for the Romney campaign, and for the RNC going into this convention," Steele added, saying that it creates a "noise level" that distracts from economic issues.

The Republican platform, if adopted, would say that “the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed," without carving out exceptions for rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is threatened. Romney has said he supports rape, incest, and life-of-the-mother exceptions, but he backed the party's 2004 and 2008 platforms, which, like this year's, contained no exceptions.

Steele also criticized current RNC chair Reince Priebus for saying that, with regard to abortion, "this is the platform of the Republican Party; it's not the platform of Mitt Romney."

"What the chairman said really doesn't make sense in light of the reality and the facts," Steele said, adding that Romney is "the nominee of our party. You're telling me that he's going to walk into that convention and snub his nose at the planks?" 

"This platform, you're not held by chains and irons on it. It is a working document, it is a living document for a lot of activists around the country. They expect their nominee to adhere to as much of it as possible, and I think you've put Mitt Romney in a very difficult position," Steele said.