Past comments on abortion, being a Republican put Paul Vallas on the defensive

Paul Vallas
Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas speaks at a campaign luncheon in downtown Chicago. Photo credit Nancy Harty

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Paul Vallas was defending his progressive credentials Tuesday as he continued to take heat in the race for Chicago mayor for past comments about being a Republican.

Campaign ads from two of Vallas’ opponents have revisited a cable TV interview he did in 2009.

“I’m more of a Republican than a Democrat now,” Vallas told interviewer Jeff Berkowitz.

Berkowitz then asked Vallas if he would run as a Republican if he ran for office again.

“I would. Yes, if I ran for public office I would definitely run Republican,” Vallas said in the interview.

At a downtown campaign luncheon Tuesday, Vallas sought to reassure the “Women for Vallas” crowd.

“So there’s no confusion: I have always been an unequivocal, uncompromising supporter of a woman’s reproductive rights,” he said.

The former CEO of Chicago Public Schools and budget director under Mayor Richard M. Daley, though, had to explain old comments he made about being fundamentally opposed to abortion. He said that's due to his Greek Orthodox upbringing.

“My position is the same as Joe Biden’s and Nancy Pelosi’s, but in that interview I [was] unequivocal in my support for a woman’s reproductive rights,” Vallas said.

He told reporters at the luncheon that he’s a “lifelong Democrat” who’s “never taken a Republican ballot.” Vallas said he’s not worried about the ads, which he described as a sign of other candidates’ desperation.

“I think I’ve been a pretty progressive Democrat,” said Vallas. “I mean, who’s built more schools than me? Who supported marriage equality 10 years before President Obama did when I ran against Rod Blagojevich?”

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Nancy Harty