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Posted at 4:10 PM ET, 02/28/2011

Hence, Mitt Romney's problem

By Jennifer Rubin

Politico reports:

President Obama on Monday once again brought up Mitt Romney's role in expanding health care in Massachusetts, in what has become a recurring political nightmare for the former governor who is seen as a likely Republican candidate for president.

Speaking to governors of both parties, Obama said Romney actually had a decent idea about addressing the country's health care system. "I know that many of you have asked for flexibility for your states under this law," Obama said at the White House. "In fact, I agree with Mitt Romney, who recently said he's proud of what he accomplished on health care in Massachusetts and supports giving states the power to determine their own health care solutions."

A Capitol Hill wag commented to me, "The president committed homicide. Intentionally, I believe."

This remark -- and many episodes like it -- will be gold for Romney's presidential primary components. Romney may think he can avoid or minimize the problem, but the central issue remains for primary voters: Why select the pol who first popularized the individual mandate?

Those who stand to benefit from Romney's baggage -- e.g. Haley Barbour, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels -- need not go "negative" themselves to make hay out of this. Between the free media and Mike Huckabee fanning the flames at every opportunity, not to mention Tea Partyers and third-party groups, they can remain above the fray while Romney battles his critics.

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 28, 2011; 4:10 PM ET
Categories:  2012 campaign  
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Comments

Are we ignoring the political nightmare health care will be for Obama in 2012?!

2012 is the year we get the Socialist(s) out of the White House! No more mass murderer Mao ornaments on the White House Christmas tree after 2012. No more Socialist health care programs (in contrast to Romney's free market approach.) No more union bosses as number one visitors to the White House whose call to action is the final line of The Communist Manifesto: "Workers of the world unite!"

If the two bills really are the same, and Obama is not simply being disingenuous in his compliments, why was Romney's bill about 80 pages and Obama's about 2,800?

How similar can the two bills be, REALLY? Even if the 80 pages are a carbon copy, the Obamacrats have stuffed an extra 2,720 pages of taxation and redistribution of wealth somewhere in there...

I'm sure Romney will face attacks from both the left and right, but I think America is smart enough to figure out the difference between a free market Republican who promises to repeal ObamaCare and a Socialist President who pretends to emulate RomneyCare, yet never actually solicited his advice.

Meanwhile, can so-called Christians like Huckabee ignore the obvious massive differences between ObamaCare and RomneyCare for personal/political gain while still staying Christians? Don't the Ten Commandments include a provision against bearing false witness?

We obviously don't hold Obama to such high moral codes, however... (As either Romney or Huckabee.) Lying and misleading for personal/political gain should not affect him or reflect poorly on the country he is voraciously "leading" into obscurity and debt. Should they, Mr. President?

In 2012 I will vote for the candidate who represents hope for the jobs of America, and the children and grandchildren who will need them, Mitt Romney.

Posted by: JedMM | February 28, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I've noticed other Dems damning Romney with fulsome praise for his health care plan. It's definitely part of their playbook. They want to kill off Romney in the Republican primaries, and their tactic will probably work. Romney has flip-flopped on too many issues to change his position now on health care mandates, but his support for mandates will be a deal-breaker for most Republicans.

Posted by: eoniii | February 28, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

This will be Romney's singularly biggest hurddle if he chooses to run in 2012.

I like Romney and supported him for 2008, however, this is likely to prove to be his undoing for the top of the ticket.

I see him maybe getting a cabinet slot (Treasury, Commerce). But top of the ticket, highly unlikely.

Furthermore, Obama's move to giving states more "flexibility" is a flatout lie. As reported elsewhere, that move would be to make Obamacare even more liberal/unwanted, not less!! http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0211/On_call_officials_stress_public_options_in_health_care_shift.html.

Posted by: Commenter09 | February 28, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Once again Jennifer Rubin prematurely signs Romney's death certificate. It's about time she stop trying to sound objective about it. She should just come out and say "I hate Mitt Romney." As JedMM said, most Americans are smart enough to see through this. It's obvious that President Obama is afraid of running against Romney and he's doing all he can to stop him now.

Posted by: Robbyshankar | February 28, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans deceitful decision to go back on parts of healthcare reform they had previously supported--all in the name of destroying the Obama Presidency--is the match they voluntarily lit. Pass the popcorn and enjoy watching the flames of internecine warfare consume them.

Posted by: oldabandonedbeachhouse | February 28, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

This was a one two punch. Yesterday, Governor Deval Patrick D-MA, friend of Barack, and protege of David Axelrod, said on ABC "kind words" about Romney's signature legislative achievement. Then this morning, the Boston Globe prominently featured Patrick's compliment, unleashing scads of insulting comments in the comment section of the on-line edition of the Globe from both left and the right. I would vote for him, if nominated, but for the life of me, I cannot fathom how he could even come close.

Posted by: TheStatistQuo | February 28, 2011 8:07 PM | Report abuse

The bottom line is that Mitt WILL sign legislation to repeal the bad counterfeit of Romney's own plan. What more do you need to know about Romneycare vs. Obamacare. Obama and Axelrod know this and they are doing their best to discredit the only Republican with healthcare bonafides.

Posted by: mavsrcheap | February 28, 2011 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Mitt will sign? What are you talking about, mavsrcheap? Romney holds no public office so he can sign whatever he wants, it costs him nothing and gets him nothing. Whatever, Romney is radioactive. What hold he has over his supporters is utterly mysterious. Does this make me a Romney Hater? So what? There is little to like about Romney and much to dislike. He is a fraud and a fool and an opportunist on his best day. He has titled his book No Apologies which tells you all you need to know about his attitude to the difficult position he has put himself in. He is unfit for any public service. No Romney, no how no way. I will vote for Obama before endorsing this specimen and THAT, friends, is saying something!

Posted by: megapotamus | February 28, 2011 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Barrack Obama is a brilliant politician who is well versed in the 'Chicago way' of dirty, sleazy politics. He's a pathetic leader and so far appears to by trying to make Jimmy Carter look like a good President but as a politican, he gets it.

Obama knows that Romney would make for the toughest opponent and it is very clear he and the Democrats are speaking in unison with damning praise of Romney. It's concerted, it is deliberate, and homicide is indeed their plan.

They hope they can alienate Romney with Republcans and make him unacceptable. With Romney out, Palin or Huckabee would be next in line for the nomination and both would be an easy kill.

The strategy seems to be gaining traction and the petty, vendicative Mike Huckabee who never missed an opportunity to lobby cheap shots at Romney himself is playing right along. Huckaee would clearly rather see Obama re-elected than Mitt Romney elected.

And then there is DOMA. The whole out-of-the-blue decision to not defend DOMA is about one thing: They are baiting Republicans to make gay marriage an issue in the 2012 election cycle. Obama needs the election to be all about social issues rather than his poor handling of the economy and penchant for spending wildly while deficits are soaring. Again, the Republicans appear to be taking the bait. Over the weekend, I read an article citing Republican groups who said they would now make gay marriage a key issue for 2012.

Indeed, Obama is brilliant in the dirty tricks arena. His strategy is to kill off the opponent whose resume' includes degrees in law and business from Harvard and who has an admirable record of success in business, impeccable character, an attractive family, the ability to raise large sums of money, and would be toughest to beat.

With step one accomplished, he waits for Republicans to nominate a polarizing figure like Palin or Huckabee, he has baited them into running a campaign on social issues and then, he wins.

The strategy is brilliant. Four more years of a man who has proven himself to be in-over-his-head as President will be the result if Republicans fall for it. Early indicators are that they are taking the bait. And the loser is of course America.

Posted by: Ci2Eye | February 28, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

CI2Eye is right on.

Obama and team fear Romney the most and are reading from a playbook to hurt him with the conservative base of the GOP . . . thus making sure he doesn't doesn't become the nominee.

http://mittromneycentral.com/2011/02/15/mitt-romney-vs-health-care-the-problem-or-is-it/

Posted by: jjfuller72 | February 28, 2011 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Denouncing RomneyCare is the wrong course to take at this time. The correct time to denounce it will be when he announces his candidacy. That is a perfectly acceptable time to come out and say, "You know what? Now that I've decided to run, I've rethought my positions and understand that changing a political position is acceptable if it means better representation of the will of the people at large. Elsewise, I should consider myself an elitest to presume I know better than the people - something some of our current leaders in Washington know a little bit about. While I catered to the will of the people of Massachusetts, I see that it is in nowise the order of the American people."

Yeah. He'll have to say something like that. Peace out, homies.

Posted by: spoyfair2000 | March 1, 2011 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Excellent analysis, Ci2Eye. I agree they're trying to kill off Romney, hoping for Huck or Sarah. I think Christie, Pawlenty, or Daniels are the best bets to take out Barry, but he will be formidable, as Hillary learned to her dismay. Obama's much more suited for running for office than for governing responsibly.

Posted by: eoniii | March 1, 2011 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Nice try ignoring the 800lb. gorilla in the room, Gov. Sarah Palin. Gomer "Pardon Me, Guv'ner" Huckleberry? Tiny Tim? Foghorn Leghorn Barbour? Mitch "Zzzzzz" Daniels? C'mon! This will be a race between a man whose family has NEVER served in uniform since landing on our shores and a lady whose son just got back from Iraq. Case closed!!

Posted by: sandbear | March 1, 2011 2:29 AM | Report abuse

Obama is actually giving a signal of fear by preempting Romney this early on.

Romney will be able to do a better job of defending his own plan, there were some good cost cutting designs which remained in place, Obamacare is not the same entity filled with compromises and contradictions, Obama is claiming that Romney was the leader in this issue. Indeed.

A health overhaul is needed, GOP and Tea Party are incredibly short sighted if they think the solution is to just cut all the federal gov jobs out there and not cut taxes to the wealthy or deal with the health cost inflation issue, ask any economist.

Posted by: joshmw | March 1, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

If Mitt Romney can't deal with his RomneyCare crisis, why would voters think he would be able to deal with a real crisis?

Posted by: donaldjohnson | March 1, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm kind of surprised the White House is going after Romney. Romney is just like his dad insofar as it takes him 5 minutes to describe the technicalities of where he stands or has stood on an issue in the past.

The big difference being his dad was far more consistent and didn't tailor his beliefs for a certain political race or audience. Sadly, I think Mitt believed early in the early 90s that the party was going to moderate by the time he contemplated a presidential run.

I hope he gets asked in the debates how he reconciles his remark in the Senate with Ted Kennedy about "doing more for gay rights than Ted" with his current stances.

It's sickening to watch all educated, establishment Republicans continue to espouse socially conservative positions for votes when they clearly don't care and privately are ok with the things they denounce publicly.

Example: Prescott Bush was the treasurer of Planned Parenthood's first capital campaign in 1947 and a early member of the American Birth Control League. I don't think H.W. or W. Bush stray too far from these views privately.

I've gotten totally off point. I guess the Obama team fears a moderate Republican more than Huckabee, Palin, or Pawlenty contingents that will probably alienate the center enough for him to get re-elected.

Posted by: Spanky175 | March 1, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Nah, Romney's religion is why the Republican base will reject him, Romneycare will be how they justify the vote.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | March 1, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

If one watches Obama's comments at the meeting of Governors, it is clear that when he begins to "compliment" Romney, he also begins to smile. He controls it, looks down, and clearly tries to make his comment with a straight face but the smile is there. And, the smile says he was enjoying what he was saying. There was absolutely nothing sincere about it in my opinion.

He knows what he is doing. It is all very transparent. He is trying to mortally wound his most worthy opponent, steer Republicans into nominating someone weaker and bait them into bringing social issues to the forefront.

A weak opponent like Reverend Huckabee with social issues dominating the conversation eqauls "The Re-Elect" that Barack Obama and his surrogates are trying to ensure. The goal is to make November 6th a fait accompli.

For anybody who thinks the 2012 race has yet to begin, I would suggest it is very much on.

Posted by: Ci2Eye | March 1, 2011 9:28 PM | Report abuse

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