On a hurriedly-arranged, on-the-record conference call this morning, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and former Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota sought to reassure conservatives that Mitt Romney intends to take the fight to Barack Obama. The call followed widespread criticism of the Romney camp's somewhat shaky response to the Supreme Court's decision to uphold Obamacare, and this morning's editorial in the Wall Street Journal accusing the Romney camp of "slowly squandering an historic opportunity."
While there is no evidence that voters like Obamacare any more today than they did last week, the Obama campaign has declared the decision a victory--and has claimed that the Romney campaign endorsed the president's view that the individual mandate in Obamacare is not a tax. Jindal and Pawlenty fired back this morning, with Jindal specifically accusing Obama of declaring his own policy unconstitutional by continuing to insist that the individual mandate is not a tax.
The Obama campaign has also continued to push negative advertisements about Romney's record as CEO of Bain Capital, despite dissent from prominent Democrats and ample evidence that many of its claims are false. Jindal promised that the Romney campaign would strike back by pointing to his track record of job creation in the private sector, as well as his economic stewardship in Massachusetts, which was "one of the top ten turnaround states in the country" on Romney's watch, he said.
"Obama has never run anything before he’s run the country," Jindal said. "You will continue to hear more from Gov. Romney on his great track record in creating jobs."
It is widely known that the Romney campaign's strategy is to make the election a referendum on the president, while the Obama campaign wants voters to face a choice between a candidate they know and a candidate they may mistrust. That is one reason the Romney campaign has shied away from pushing their candidate to the fore. Supporters fear, however, that he is losing an opportunity to tell voters who he is before Obama does.
Jindal said the Romney campaign intended to be more pro-active about Romney's record, and about his policy proposals. "Gov. Romney will be taking very specific policy positions in terms of repealing Obamacare, reforming the tax code, fixing Medicare and Social Security," he said. “I think you’ll continue to see Gov. Romney expand on the positive positions he’s taken.”
Both Jindal and Pawlenty declined to comment on Gov. Romney's selection process for his running mate.
Photo credit: Times-Picayune