Mitt Romney has been under fire in the last couple of days thanks to comments made by Andrea Saul, a campaign spokeswoman who cited RomneyCare to fight back against an untruthful attack ad from a pro-Obama “super PAC.” Conservatives are beside themselves over it, and understandably so given that RomneyCare was one of the reasons many of them refused get behind him during the primary.
Ann Coulter has suggested that Saul should be fired for the comment because the response was incredibly dumb. But others, like Philip Klein, note that Saul isn’t the problem, but Romney is because he “was a moderate to liberal governor of Massachusetts, and had to adopt conservative positions that he isn’t entirely comfortable with to win the Republican nomination, health care being the most prominent example.”
And while Saul is working with what she was given, Mitt Romney, who seems completely disconnected from why he struggled during the primary, cited his healthcare overhaul as part of his experience in dealing with the issue during a campaign stop yesterday:
Romney spoke Wednesday about health care in Des Moines, Iowa. One could be forgiven for thinking he sounded like a candidate who has grown increasingly reluctant to dismiss his most significant and successful public policy achievement.
“At the top of my list of programs we don’t need is one that costs $100 billion a year I’m going to get rid of and that’s Obamacare,” he said to cheers at a rally.
The ad produce by PrioritiesUSA, a pro-Obama “super PAC” is still making waves. As explained yesterday, the ad features Joe Soptic, a steelworker who lost his job after Bain Capitol stepped in to stop the bleeding from the company’s financial losses in 2001. Soptic’s wife, Ilyona, died a few years later from lung cancer.
Soptic blames this on Mitt Romney, who founded the private investment firm. The only problem is that Romney didn’t have a hand in the day-to-day operations at Bain Capital at the time. Yes, he was still listed as CEO, but he had stepped away in 1999 to run the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. What’s more, Jonathan Lavine, a bundler for President Obama, was managing Bain Capital during the time at which the steel mill was closed.
While the pain of losing a loved one is indeed great, it doesn’t excuse the errors in the story Soptic is telling in this ad and elsewhere, including a separate ad and conference call for President Obama’s campaign (emphasis mine):
The ad features Joe Soptic, 62, of Missouri, who lost his job when GST Steel of Kansas City—owned by Bain and other investors for eight years—was closed. As melancholy music plays, Mr. Soptic says that when the plant closed, he and his family lost their health-care coverage and “a short time after that, my wife became ill.” Her illness was diagnosed five years later. “I don’t think Mitt Romney understands what he’s done to people’s lives by closing the plant,” Mr. Soptic says in the ad.
While trying to beat back criticism over the Priorities USA ad that essentially says he killed a woman — even though the ad is misleading, if not downright false, a campaign spokeswoman for Mitt Romney pointed to RomneyCare to show her that her boss can do health care reform:
Mitt Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul cited the Massachusetts healthcare law, which the Obama campaign has called the template for the Affordable Care Act, while attacking a controversial new super-PAC ad.
“I think that President Obama’s attacks have been so low and so despicable on a personal level that they’re backfiring on him,” Saul told Fox News on Wednesday, pushing back against the ad.
“If people had been in Massachusetts under Gov. Romney’s healthcare plan, they would have had healthcare,” she added.
With his poll numbers falling and unfavorables rising, Team Romney is no doubt in a panic over what to do to turn the tide of recent negative press. The only real problem with this line of messaging is that RomneyCare, which was the blueprint for ObamaCare, has been frequently cited by conservatives as an example of their distrust of Romney.
Indeed, this line is already causing some concern among conservatives. Erick Erickson, a talk show host and editor of RedState, probably brings home the sentiment as well as anyone else I’ve read:
On Tuesday, Priorities USA, a pro-Obama “super PAC,” launched an ad in which Joe Soptic claims that Mitt Romney killed is wife. The allegation has to do with Bain Capital, a private investment firm that Romney founded, bought the company for which Soptic worked. His job was bought out and his pension was cut. Because Soptic, who has promoted pro-union causes, had to take a new job where health insurance wasn’t offered to his wife, Ilyona.
While the ad is potentially damaging, it’s also very misleading; if not blatantly false considering that Romney left Bain in 1999 to run the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, though he remained its CEO “in name only” until 2002. From 1999 to 2002, Romney was preparing for the Olympics or campaigning to become Governor of Massachusetts, not overseeing the day-to-day aspects of Bain Capital.
Not only that, but CNN points out that Soptic’s spouse had health insurance through her employer, after her spouse lost his job, but was forced to quit in 2003 because of an injury. Unfortunately, she passed away from lung cancer in 2006.
But as Doug Mataconis notes, blaming Romney for the failure of Soptic’s employer isn’t just misguided, it’s flat wrong:
There is a lot of speculation about who will be Romney’s running mate in November, now that we’re getting closer and closer to the national party conventions. Jason Pye has already gone over some of the Top Five picks, and one name that continually comes up is Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee.
I wish it wouldn’t.
Don’t get me wrong. Paul Ryan is pretty awesome. He was the first Republican to put forward a genuine, truly solid budget cutting plan, rather than just spouting platitudes and nonsense. (I’m sure we can all gripe about Ryan’s plan, and how it doesn’t go far enough, but you have to admit, for a body and a political party that frequently talks the talk but never walks the walks, the Ryan plan is an amazing start.) But that is precisely why I don’t want Ryan to be Romney’s VP.
Yesterday, my friends at the Foundation for Economic Education noted a recent article by the Christian Science Monitor explaining how the “debate about job creation is becoming one of the central themes of this year’s election campaign.” While it’s true that the economy, which includes “job creation,” is something to which some voters are paying attention, those running things in Washington are trying to find any excuse to talk about other issues.
The record of President Barack Obama on the economy should be the primary focus of voters at the point in time. With the real unemployment rate at 15% (the U-3 rate, which is what media outlets report, is at 8.3%), a budget deficit approaching $1 trillion for the fourth consecutive year, and the fiscal cliff looming; it’s hard to defend Obama’s record. In fact, as Dan Mitchell recently explained, Obamanomics has been a failure.
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual — or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” - Samuel Adams, 1781, Boston Gazette
Nearly a week after primary elections in Georgia, I am still contemplating whether I’m happy or disappointed in the voter turnout. Here in Bartow County, with 50,051 registered voters, only 16,326 (32.6%) came out on Election Day to cast a vote. In Bartow, for all intents and purposes, July 31st was the general election, because we have only two Democrats countywide running for any office, and both are running against immensely popular incumbents. In nearly every race, the winner of the Republican primary will be, by default, the winner in the November elections.
Think about what that means. In a county of approximately 105,000 people, with about 14,500 (89%) of the voters casting ballots on the Republican ticket, the decision as to who will be our next County Commissioner, Tax Commissioner, Sheriff, Chief Magistrate, and Clerk of Court, would all be decided with a mere 7,251 votes cast in their favor; and that assumes every voter cast a ballot in every race, which is not the case. Races representing smaller districts in the county were won with as few as 603 votes cast for the winner.
With the Republican National Convention just three weeks away, we’re getting closer to Mitt Romney naming his running mate in 2012. Romney’s campaign has launched a smartphone app that will tip supporters off to his pick before anyone else knows, at least in theory.
Awaiting the pick is sort of like looking at top prospects for a Major League Baseball team or analyzing draft picks before the NFL Draft. Last week, The Hill reported that Beth Myers, the head of Romney’s VP search team, was on hand for a rally with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell — much like a scout at a game looking at a potential target’s stuff.
Back in April, I looked at some of the frequently mentioned names in the conversation as Romney was beginning his search for a running back. But speculation has been rampant in recent days and announcement could come literally any day now, here is look at the five most likely picks for Romney.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell: Much like Ohio, the Commonwealth of Virginia is a “must-win” for Romney. While Portman is relatively unknown in his home state, McDonnell has a 55% approval rating in Virginia. Unemployment is at 5.6%, which easily bests the national rate of 8.3%.
Hide your kids, hide your wife… Romney will kill them.
This is an actual ad from President Obama’s Priorities USA Super PAC:
If Lee Atwater was alive today, I doubt he could compete with this level of ugliness.
During a public appearence yesterday in his home state, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was pressed by reporters on his unsubstaniated charge that Mitt Romney hasn’t paid his taxes in 10 years.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Reid didn’t back down from his claim, for which he has absolutely no evidence. Reid once again said that Romney could put it to rest by producing more tax returns. Reporters kept after Reid on the charge, prompting him to snap, saying, “I’ve answered your question.”
He received some backing from ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who told the Huffington Post that because “[s]omebody told [Reid]” that Romney hadn’t paid his taxes that “Harry Reid made a statement that is true.”
On what planet that makes sense is anybody’s guess, but others aren’t so convinced. For example, PolitiFact reviewed the charge and weighed the likelihood that someone earning as much as Romney, and gave Reid their worst rating — “Pants on Fire”:
On Aug. 6, a Reid spokesman confirmed to PolitiFact that the majority leader still maintains the information came from the anonymous Bain investor. Our Truth-O-Meter guidelines say we hold officials accountable to back up their words. By those standards, Reid has not proven his allegation.
Still, we wondered how likely it was that Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years.