The Hill reports that in 2002 Mitt Romney advocated radical campaign finance reform:
“Mr. Romney campaigned in favor of clean elections, which provides public money to candidates for state office who meet strict fundraising requirements,” the Telegram & Gazette reported. “But he suggested an alternative funding method. Instead of providing campaign funds from state coffers, his plan would tap 10 percent of the fundraising of candidates who choose to raise money privately.”
Romney advocated taxing political contributions to support candidates who stayed within spending limits.
Romney also wanted to ban political action committees:
A Boston Globe article from July 1994 reported that Romney publicly advocated placing spending limits on congressional campaigns and abolishing political action committees (PACs).
“And to get that kind of money you’ve got to cozy up as an incumbent to all the special-interest groups who can go out and raise money for you from their members. And that kind of relationship has an influence on the way you’re gonna vote.”
That’s real "fire in the belly". He really sounds like he believed it.
However, Romney’s newly-minted (Mitted?) position was a big applause line at the RSC meeting:
“Referring to the bill, [Romney] called it ‘one of the worst things in my lifetime,’” one conservative Republican said. “The place erupted. That was by far the biggest applause line.”
Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council captures the essence of the Romney absurdity:
“Of course, this was Mitt Romney in 2002. Who knows? He might have changed his mind on that,” he said. “He always seems to want to come back to the table.”