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Romney Seeks Shift Back to Economy

Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop at Jorge Mas Canosa Youth Center in Sweetwater, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008. (AP).

By Perry Bacon Jr.
MIAMI -- A day after Sen. John McCain blasted his position on Iraq, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney changed the subject to his favorite issue, the economy. Romney suggested a bill to combat global warming McCain has authored would lead to increases in prices for gas, repeated criticisms of McCain's votes against tax cuts the Bush administration advocated in 2001 and 2003 and suggested McCain did not understand the economy as well as the Romney, who ran a Boston venture capital firm before entering politics.

"I simply don't think the people of Florida are going to say the nominee of our party ought to be a person who on more than one occasion has expressed a lack of understanding of our economy," Romney said at a press conference following a rally at community center in a Cuban area here where the usually buttoned-down candidate wore an untucked Guayabera, a kind of shirt popular in Latin America.

Romney added, "I understand he's anxious to try and see if he can change the topic away from the economy. I'm going to remind him of his statements time and again about his lack of understanding of the economy."

Romney has, in recent days, repeatedly slammed McCain for a remark the Arizona senator made in 2005 that "I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated." Romney also suggested a bill that McCain has worked on with Senator Joe Lieberman which would set up a system of reducing carbon emissions by allowing companies to trade, save, and borrow emissions credits would actually raise the price of gas by as much as 50 cents per gallon. The candidate did not detail exactly how this increase in gas prices would happen through the McCain bill, and the Senator's aides dismissed the charge.

Romney targeted McCain in what has become a two-man race between candidates who share little fondness for each other. But they are focusing on substantive differences. McCain yesterday likened Romney's views on Iraq to those of the Democrats, recycling a months-old quote to suggest Romney favored a speedy withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Romney has long said he does not favor an immediate withdrawal of troops, although he was not the same vocal advocate of the troop surge that McCain was.

Romney and McCain, while taking on each directly, are in some ways running very different campaigns in which the winner could be determined by the relative strength of two other GOP candidates, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. While touting his views on the economy, Romney is also running ads casting himself as the candidate of "conservative change" and noting he is a candidate who unites the "Reagan coalition" of economic, social and foreign policy conservatives. If Huckabee, who has been embraced by social conservatives, continues to drop in polls here, that support could head to Romney, who has performed well among conservatives and Republicans in the early voting states.

McCain, focused on foreign policy issues, won contests in New Hampshire and South Carolina on the strength of the kind of moderate Republicans that the fading Giuliani is also wooing.

By Post Editor  |  January 27, 2008; 3:39 PM ET
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I would still like to know how many disgruntled voters would prefer to vote against their greater of evils without having to vote for their lesser of such. A NO column and the highest net yes wins would let them do that, directly, honestly and comfortably. What's wrong with being able to cast a vote that honestly reflects you view. From the many comments I read their are many who know who they dislike more than who they like.

Posted by: Valjean1 | January 29, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the egregious error in this article about Romney supporting withdrawl from Iraq needs to be corrected immediately. It's almost as if the press is using releases from the "straight talk" express as primary sources. FYI Perry Bacon - just because McCain says something does NOT make it true.

Posted by: billlava | January 29, 2008 2:02 AM | Report abuse

McCain has screwed others to get to the top from the beginning. Like dumping his first wife ( who raised his 3 kids) after she got in an accident, for an extremely rich beauty 20 years younger than him.

Used the money and connections to sponsor his political runs.

This guy is ruthlesss. I'll vote for Obama before I ever vote for McCain

Posted by: ywhywi | January 28, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Ok. The Washington Post is talking about the economy again. Last week Ruth Markus reviewed most of the presidential candidates' stimulus plans...everyone but Ron Pauls. See the atricle here:

All of the GOP candidates got a D or worse, and Rudy got an "incomplete".

See Dr. Paul's economic stimulus plan which was released 1/24/08 here:

I would appreciate Ruth Markus taking a look at and grading Ron Pauls plan, and publishing that compared to the other GOP candidates.

Is that too much to ask?

Posted by: chocolatemusiclife | January 28, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Countless comments everywhere showing many know who they don't want in office more than who they do but there is no way on a yes only ballot to vote that view. We need a NO column and the highest net yes wins so we can vote against our greater of evils to keep them out of office without having to vote for a lesser of evils. Many obviously don't care who wins just as long as it's not candidate X. Why do we have to say we want yucky parsnips to really way we don't want even yuckier broccoli? We need to be able to vote no when we mean no, without having to vote yes and a NO column would provide us the freedom of expression to do that.

Posted by: Valjean1 | January 28, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse


Luckily, I guess, China cannot pick up the United States and take it with them -- same goes for Mexico -- although I presume you are referring to illegal aliens taking jobs HERE in America?


Rather than Romney being "deceptive and dishonest" is it at least POSSIBLE that he had an honest change of heart re: abortion, for instance?

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Fiscal Conservatives are unAmerican
They sold our country out to China and our Jobs out to Mexico.
Its tragic how many dumb Republican males fall for the same trick every election.

Posted by: hhkeller | January 28, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Why can't a deceptive and dishonest Romney win the election? We elected that cretin Dubya twice.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 28, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans Win! Throughout this election the Republicans have done a far better job of informing citizens of their positions on ALL the major issues facing Americans today, thus they win! The Dems. have avoided all but a few selected isues, mostly "anti Bush" rheortic, candidate vs. candidate criticism, third party controversy, and other non issues. THE DEMS. CLAIM THEY WANT "CHANGE" BUT REFUSE DETAILS, AND THEY CLAIM "EXPERIENCE" WHICH THEY DO NOT HAVE! voters do not want this "hype", this is unwelcomed political garbage as usual. If anyone wants to get complete information on actual issues and positions, they must go to Republican party candidates web sites. Voters want good factual information in order to cast an educated vote. Come on voters, insist on information, and good unbiased news coverage, get all the facts, register and vote an informed ballot! Thank you. Monty Ousley Weddell, TX

Posted by: jhutt123 | January 28, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Reagan while putting economic screws to the USSR by trade policies and deals with the arabs (Arms sales for more oil production lowering the price to $10/bbl) did not cause their fall. More credit should go to Nixon whose sophisticated radar sales to China caused the USSR to add a million men on the Chinese border and Carter who built 7 boomers which forced the USSR to build 16 to remain strategically safe bankrupting their economy. Dubya with his Iraq invasion has sent oil to $90/bbl giving Russia the coin it needed to rebuild its military and causing the economic downturn of our country and probably the worlds middle class economics. Huckabee is quite correct when he says oil money to Arab states and Russia works against American security interests. Too bad he's radical on everything else.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 28, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I agree with those who say that people wont consider Ron Paul because Ron Paul looks like he's off his rocker.

Well, alot of people look like they're off their rocker. A lot of people know more about their favorite sports team than they do about anything that is even remotely useful in the real world. They talk to their children more about monster truck rallies than they do about the things in life that really matter. The fabric that holds society together is unraveling, and most people act as if they'd be content to be slaves if it came down to it. As long as their cells had televisions.

Fluoride. Breast Cancer. Diabetes. Autism.

Unsustainable energy usage.


Mountains of debt.

You tell me, who really is off their rocker?

Posted by: iconoclast421 | January 28, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Romney made his fortune saving corporations from bankruptcy by downsizing and outsourcing American jobs. Anyone that believes he has a good economic record for America, I have a bridge that is for sale. His policies are excellent for the investor class short term but are an anathema for the middle class. McCain while the only qualified commander in chief still supports the failed Republican economic agenda. Rudy is even worse supporting Dubya's economics and Huckabee would severely hurt the working class with his VAT tax. The Democrats are only marginally better. What happened to leadership in this great country of ours.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 28, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney can not be trusted. He will say anything and pay anything to win. Just look at the debate, Romney cheated. Do you want someone dishonest and deceptive as our president? Don't believe me? Look at these 3 videos of the Florida debate and tell me Romney did not cheat. There is no denying it.

Posted by: SabreHawk | January 27, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Ten Most Corrupt National Politicians 2007
1. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY):
5. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY):
6. Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR):
8. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL):
Dr Ron Paul asks a Question of John McCain, McCain & Miss Teen SC on Economics:

Posted by: washpost3 | January 27, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Was Ronald Reagan an experienced military leader? NO. Yet he was able to end the Cold War! Almost every good president in the last 50 years was a GOVERNOR! Mitt has 25 years of experience turning around business, PLUS he was the governor of one of the most broken states in the union. People will point and say that everything wasn't perfect when he left, but in the few short years that he was there, he did amazing things: Private health care for everyone, a budget surplus, came down hard against amnesty, and fought for every family issue there was. Vote for an agent of change...not another Washington cronie.

Posted by: wendim1 | January 27, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

This country is struggling to avoid what could become one of the most severe recessions it has ever seen and Florida is on the front lines, economically.

Florida Republicans want to know what McCain plans to do about it besides promote needless, ineffective environmental regulations that impose more compliance costs on business.

And McCain wants to change the subject.

He's like an inept FEMA bureaucrat who refuses to respond appropriately to warnings about the severity of an approaching hurricane.

Posted by: WakeWashington | January 27, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Romney appeals to conservatives and will clean up in every Republican-only primary--here are the issues:

1. His clear stance on illegal immigration. McCain attempted to grant amnesty.

2. His stance on the economy. Mitt outclasses every candidate on both sides and will provide the middle class with tax cuts, and slash the ridiculous corporate taxes stifling business growth. McCain is a joke on this issue and admitted he does not understand the economy.

3. His stance on energy independence. Mitt understands the substantial investment required to develop clean, efficient energy resources but he is not going to punish the US by not drilling oil and refining gas--oil production in Alaska will not only be key to reduce gas prices for every American citizen, but will further boost the economy by providing an abundance of well-paying jobs. Remember the 80's? Again, McCain is an ignorant liberal on this issue.

Romney will handily defeat the Clintons in 08'

"The success [in Iraq] is due to the blood and the courage of our servicemen and women... not to General Hillary Clinton"

- Mitt Romney

Posted by: sem-report-card | January 27, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Does McCain support the initial decision to invade Iraq based on preemption when there was nothing to preempt? Does he feel Bush was determined to invade no matter what...or not? Does he feel Bush was justified even given the turn of events since?

Posted by: Valjean1 | January 27, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

McCain never met a Bill or a War he did not like. He admits to being part of the problem in the Republican Party in the past, to bad he could not have figured that out BEFORE the election. The man has not a clue about economics and all the people he named that are his advisors already work for the economic genius Bush. So McCain knows nothing and is going to rely on the same people that have been running the show for the last 8 years? That's economic genius for you. As well intentioned he may be he is certainly is not the brightest bulb in the bunch. With the U.S. heading for rough economic times does anyone really want this man President? Scary thought..
What do John McCain and Miss Teen USA South Carolina have in common?

Huckabee wants to do to the Constitution what sharia law does for Middle Eastern government. Taxes? All of a sudden (during election) he becomes the great anti-Tax man. How convenient, to bad he could not have figured that out before the election..

Romney as McCain called the kettle black is truly the "Candidate of Change" (Changing sides) can anyone say flip-flopper?

Rudy... Can anyone say 9-11 a hundred times fast without a lisp? In reality this is all Rudy has to run on. Not to boot his past leadership shows a authoritarian style of governing.

Ron Paul.. With the whole GOP against him he is definitely an underdog and with his radical idea of following the constitution and strengthening the dollar he is on a rocky road, on the other hand most Americans love an underdog..

Posted by: b.kuszmar | January 27, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

>>>>>HEY "ordgobaltc"

You are clear example how stupid some Americans are.

Posted by: BOBSTERII | January 27, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse


Dr. Ron Paul

Posted by: BOBSTERII | January 27, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Those who support candidates get those top paying staff positions that the president sees fit to place. I have no problem saying tha Mitt Romney continues to lie and change position on the issues.

We as a Nation, deserve a President that is honest and for the people. Like Abe Lincoln was.

It is up to us to choose the person we want for president. We all kow that media bias is controlling who people vote for. And some of the mainstream media is getting paid very well for what hey report. put a great article that supports Mike Huckabee and talks about the un fairness that is happening in this race. The article is called "Let Huckabee speak" It is front page! Please go and read it. Not only are Protestants and Evangelicals supporting Mike, so are Catholics. As well as people who live with morals an values, common Americans are choosing Mike Huckabee. Please look carefuly at the candidates.

Dan Campbell

Posted by: marinepatriot | January 27, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Why is Romney always described as a "venture capitalist"?

He wasn't a venture capitalist, he was a buyout investor.

There's a huge difference.

Posted by: rob | January 27, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Seeing that McCain's lies were desperately trying to shift talk away from the economy in the first place, this whole article reads as a McCain hit piece.

That is some typo to state that Romney ever supported an immediate troop withdrawal. That is as bad a lie as McCain's. Do some research before spouting off like you know what you are talking about.

Posted by: DCWill | January 27, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Whether this get posted or not, I think we should tackle the right issues when it come to the Clintons.
August 1989:
The Clintons were in power when American Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania all in Africa got attack by Osama Bin Laden. Information was sent to the White House, and nothing was done other than a speech of condolences for the victim's families in Africa. It was just the Africans - Who care. This was the message that was received in Africa.
We all thought the Americans will back us because of the information that we gave them - Osama was in the hide outs (Libya). We later found out from source closer to presidents of those African countries that were attacked that, the US have contacted the Saud ices and received Millions of Dollars that were ship to some Swiss Banks. The Swiss government is refusing to address this situation or conspiracy.
Africans have this adage: "the rain that falls on my house and cause destruction will soon drift to your house." This is what happened on Sep 11Th, when US was attack right at home. Had it been the Clintons had taken out Osama, 3000 US citizens would not have died. Who then, should we point fingers at - The CLINTONS. They knew all the plots of Osama from briefings by the CIA and FBI but because they had taken money from the Saud ices, they wouldn't pursue the safety of 3000 US citizens.
Call this a verbose claim, they video is available when US intelligent saw Osama getting into a bucker for their usual meeting after they had attacked the US embassies. Despite a call to the White House, THE CLINTONS WILL NOT APPROVE THE KILLING OF OSAMA.

So, all we are asking is to tell the truth about what happen before 9/11.

Sending the Clintons to the White is not something that we cannot let it happen.

To those who intend to vote for the Clintons, bare this in mind:


Watch this for yourself and ask why the Clintons did not kill Osama.

They had already taken money from the Saudices

Posted by: ordgobaltc | January 27, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Romney has said he supports a secret military timetable not known to the enemy. THAT IS CALLED MILITARY PLANNING MR. MCCAIN. It is flat out dishonest for Mr. McCain of the writer of this article to state Romney ever wanted a public timetable for withdrawal or that he wanted an immediate withdrawal. McCain just lost my vote. Romney has repeatedly stated how ridiculous it is to tell the enemy when you are planning on leaving and McCain knew that when he lied about it. Desperation sets in. Romney wins.

Posted by: sab2336 | January 27, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Romney has said he supports a secret military timetable not known to the enemy. THAT IS CALLED MILITARY PLANNING MR. MCCAIN. It is flat out dishonest for Mr. McCain of the writer of this article to state Romney ever wanted a public timetable for withdrawal or that he wanted an immediate withdrawal. McCain just lost my vote. Romney has repeatedly stated how ridiculous it is to tell the enemy when you are planning on leaving and McCain knew that when he lied about it. Desperation sets in. Romney wins.

Posted by: sab2336 | January 27, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Desperation, Dan? Really? McCain is leading in every major superTuesday state - without buying votes. I doubt there's any desperation kicking in, at least not on McCain's side.

Posted by: ldsawyer | January 27, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Self-proclaimed straight talkers are usually double talkers:

Posted by: drnewknee | January 27, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Romney has said he supports a secret military timetable not known to the enemy. THAT IS CALLED MILITARY PLANNING MR. MCCAIN. It is flat out dishonest for Mr. McCain of the writer of this article to state Romney ever wanted a public timetable for withdrawal or that he wanted an immediate withdrawal. McCain just lost my vote. Romney has repeatedly stated how ridiculous it is to tell the enemy when you are planning on leaving and McCain knew that when he lied about it. Desperation sets in. Romney wins.

Posted by: DanLounsbury | January 27, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Why not vote for Ron Paul?
If the Ron Paulites really want to know why noone is voting for him, and I'm just being honest, it is because he looks like he is off his rocker. I know this will offend the Ron Paulites and I'm sorry; but you asked why noone is voting for him.

McCain "Strait talk?"
I feel a little disillusioned with McCain's "strait talk." It appears that he misused Romney's words to try and stop Romney's current surge in Florida. McCain showed me one thing about his character; when his back is against the wall he'll do anything, including lying, to get ahead.

Posted by: doups3 | January 27, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

We each seem to have our own major issue(s) that make their choice for President seem like the best one. The economy is a big one for me. McCain did not know about the "Working Group on Financial Markets" in the last debate. This is VERY scary if he is elected. My question is: Would someone tell me why we should NOT elect Ron Paul?

Ron Paul has raised more money than the rest in the 4th quarter & is spending it! $20 million in the 4th quarter. $3.5 million so far this quarter. And it was all from individual donations averaging less than $100. No PACs. Unlike the others he is beholding to nothing but the Constitution.

The rest, with Richardson and Kucinich out, seem to be talking crazy talk (or did last week, who knows what the Democrats will say next week!) about our military adventures in the Middle East. Military spending is connected to our current economic mess. Additionally, no one else seems to understand the problems with the economy, inflation, and out of control deficit spending. Inflation is going to eat us alive, as it has already started to do so. Do you really believe that the REAL inflation rate last year, the rate that was used by the government for Social Security check increases this month, was 2.3%? Just look at the price of gold up 30% in 2007, now at an all time high and getting higher!

One can not talk about tax cuts without ALSO talking about cutting spending. We have a $9 trillion debt (nearly double since 2000) that must be paid so we can afford Social Security and Medicare. The interest payments will go sky high when we begin to fight inflation with higher Federal Reserve bank rates.

And we must stop inflation or everyone's life savings will go down the tubes, along with the middle class, like what has happened to the middle class in most countries south of our border. And do not forget Universal Health Care, which is coming down the tracks right at us, unless Republicans begin to understand the seriousness of runaway deficits and inflation. And start educating the country. A Democratic President will surely not fight inflation like Volcker and Reagan did!

Please vote Ron Paul and save the country from bankruptcy abroad and at home!

Posted by: RamseySt | January 27, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"Romney has long said he does (NOT) favor an immediate withdrawal of troops, although he was not the same vocal advocate of the troop surge that McCain was"

THAT MUST HAVE BEEN A TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR. I certainly hope that is is not what Mr. Bacon wrote. I'm disappointed that the editors did not catch this obvious mistake.

Mitt Romney has NEVER supported an immediate withdrawal of forces from Iraq.

Posted by: robert | January 27, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Are you siding with McCain's lies as well: "Romney has long said he does favor an immediate withdrawal of troops, although he was not the same vocal advocate of the troop surge that McCain was". Or, is this just a typing error? Please fix your article.

Posted by: jmporter101 | January 27, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Are you siding with McCain's lies as well: "Romney has long said he does favor an immediate withdrawal of troops, although he was not the same vocal advocate of the troop surge that McCain was". Or, is this just a typing error? Please fix your article.

Posted by: jmporter101 | January 27, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

One more reason to take a closer look at Huckabee...

Posted by: PiousPolly | January 27, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

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