The Corner

“Unfit To Serve As President”

That’s what the American Freedom Agenda, a new group of conservative civil libertarians, said about Mitt Romney after he declined to sign their pledge. It would have the next president promising, among other things, to obtain judicial approval before initiating any wiretaps and to allow habeas corpus petitions for unlawful combatants imprisoned in the U.S. or by U.S. forces elsewhere.

The conservative co-founders of American Freedom Agenda are David Keene of the American Conservative Union, direct-mail guru Richard Viguerie, legal analyst Bruce Fein, and former congressman Bob Barr. Actually, it isn’t just Romney they criticize. Only Ron Paul has signed the pledge so far. But the former Massachusetts governor does appear to be their first big target:

They approached Romney first, [Fein] added, because they thought he was likely to want such an endorsement by a conservative group. But through Gary Marx, Romney’s liaison to conservatives, Romney said he was not going to sign their pledge for now — prompting the scathing “Conservatives Say Mitt Romney Unfit to Serve as President” press release.

The press release caused some consternation at the Romney headquarters. A spokesman, Kevin Madden , said that Romney did not say he would never sign the pledge, as the press release implied, only that “at this point we’re going to take a pass.” He declined to comment further.