Front-page piece in Sunday’s New York Times about the jobs-based focus of once and future presidential candidate Mitt Romney (R-Pretzel Logic), who undoubtedly wishes he’d been relegated to page A23.
The message is well suited to Mr. Romney’s background as a successful executive and former governor, as well as the man who rescued the 2002 Winter Games from financial trouble. But it may also be his best opportunity to try to steer around criticism over the health care plan he created in Massachusetts, which to many Republicans looks distressingly similar to the federal law signed last year by Mr. Obama.
And it offers him a chance to sidestep the concerns of social conservatives, some of whom question his commitment to their causes and are uncomfortable with his Mormon faith.
That’s a tough twofer to overcome, and so far Romney’s ignoring the latter and fumbling the former. His defense of RomneyCare (rhymes with ObamaCare), according to the Times:
Mr. Romney defended the program again on Saturday night, saying that it was “unique to Massachusetts” and should not be imposed on other states. But his criticism of the national law — “I would repeal Obamacare, if I were ever in a position to do so,” he declared — has been overshadowed by his Republican rivals’ trying to conflate the two.
He devoted only a few moments of his speech to health care and tried to lighten the mood, saying: “You may have noticed that the president and his people spend more time talking about me and Massachusetts health care than ‘Entertainment Tonight’ spends talking about Charlie Sheen.”
Romney had a chance to get out in front of the issues during the national healthcare debate last year but he punted, Republican strategists say:
“He made a huge mistake not litigating his health care record when Obamacare was on the table,” said Alex Castellanos, a Republican strategist who advised the early stages of Mr. Romney’s last race. “He should have been the leading opponent and said, ‘I can tell you better than anyone, don’t do this.’ But now he’s chosen to litigate this during a campaign, which is the worst time to do it.”
Worse times to come, presumably.