In 1994, Mitt Romney, running against Ted Kennedy for the senate, did not back the Contract with America. From the October 1, 1994 edition of the Boston Globe (emphasis mine):
Republican US Senate hopeful Mitt Romney yesterday distanced himself from a GOP leadership move to rally congressional candidates behind a “contract with America” – a 10-point manifesto that embraces welfare cuts, tax cuts and a beefed-up military.
The contract, promoted by Rep. Newt Gingrich of Georgia, is already a hot issue in Massachusetts’ 6th and 3d congressional districts, where Republican freshmen Peter Torkildsen of Danvers and Peter Blute of Shrewsbury are defending their support of the document in the face of charges from Democratic opponents that it would inflate the federal deficit.
Romney aides, hoping to keep their candidate out of the controversy the contract has generated and as far from Washington politics as possible, said the GOP hopeful, who is seeking to unseat US Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, has not read the document and had no plans to support it.
Yet the document contains a number of proposals that Romney has made a centerpiece of his campaign, including welfare reform, a balanced budget amendment and a line-item veto for the president.
UPDATE: A reader sends along this video of Romney describing the Contract with America as a “mistake” in a 1994 debate, although it’s worth noting Romney offers no criticism of the policy platforms of the Contract, but instead is protesting the idea that one party should have a list of goals, making it so that if those goals are accomplished, the other party — regardless of whether they support the policies or not — are political losers: