And So It Begins: Romney’s new strategy in action
Mitt Romney, who has seen his lead vanish in national polls, has put his new strategy of going after Rick Perry in action. Yesterday, while visiting Texas, Romney knocked “career politicians” for the nation’s current problems:
Though Mr. Romney has assiduously avoided taking on one rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, Mr. Romney took a veiled swipe at Mr. Perry in a speech Tuesday before the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention in San Antonio.
“I have spent most of my life outside of politics, dealing with real problems in the real economy,” Mr. Romney said. “Career politicians got us into this mess, and they simply don’t know how to get us out.”
The attack line, which lit up the Twittersphere Tuesday morning when the campaign released some early excerpts, was met with some applause, but it is a point that Mr. Romney makes frequently on the campaign trail. Mr. Romney often argues that he is not a career politician and is one of the few candidates, having spent 25 years in the private sector, with the executive know-how to create jobs.
In his speech before the V.F.W., Mr. Romney tried to walk the line between offering an optimistic vision for the nation’s future — he even name-checked former President Ronald Reagan and mentioned “the shining city on a hill” — and painting a grim picture of the country under President Obama’s leadership.
“I believe in America,” Mr. Romney said, wearing a blue tie and speaking in a measured, even voice. “We believe in freedom and opportunity. We believe in the inherent dignity of every human being. We have deep and abiding faith in the goodness and the greatness of America.”
The strategy is being called by one Romney adviser, according to the Huffington Post, as a “death by a thousand cuts” approach against Perry. As par of his new approach, Romney is also going to to reach out to the tea party movement, an important group of voters in the GOP primary that has been skeptical of him due in part to the health insurance reform plan in Massachusetts he supported in 2006. The plan, which featured the individual mandate, became the blueprint for ObamaCare.
Perry, who has been critical of Romney on healthcare, may have to contend with that issue as well. Yesterday, The Daily Caller released a letter Perry wrote to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, who embraced a single-payer system during her presidential campaign, praising her efforts to enact health care reform. That point will no doubt be seized upon by Romney and other candidates in the race; including long-shot candidate Herman Cain, who first gained notoriety by educating Bill Clinton on the costs of his health care plan to businesses (too bad that’s the not the Herman Cain that has showed up during the GOP presdential race).
Another factor that may wind up helping Romney, and he has to be praying for this right now, is a Sarah Palin candidacy. Palin, who is speaking at an Iowa tea party rally this weekend, may well be a candidate soon and if she does run it can only hurt Perry and make Michele Bachmann that much more irrelevant.