The Democratic National Committee has released a web ad purporting to show Gov. Mitt Romney in 2008 advocating for an individual mandate at the federal level. This would, of course, be a devastating “smoking gun” proving that Romney had explicitly endorsed and even campaigned on “ObamaCare” before it was an unconstitutional glimmer in Barack Obama’s eye.
The problem with the video the DNC has released (and which has been picked up by their reliable minions including Ezra Klein at the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and Talking Points Memo) is that the excerpt from a Jan 5, 2008 New Hampshire debate is selectively edited and does not include an exculpatory moment one minute later in which Gov. Romney clearly and unequivocally states he would NOT be in favor of an individual mandate at the federal level. (See video compilation below.)
After an exchange with Sen. Fred Thompson over the effectiveness of mandates (Romney saying “I like mandates” seems to be the left’s smoking gun, tying him to Obama’s federal folly), Gov. Romney then answers Charlie Gibson’s direct question about instituting a national mandate:
I would not mandate at the federal level that every state do what we do. But what I would say at the federal level is, “We’ll keep giving you these special payments we make if you adopt plans that get everybody insured.” I want to get everybody insured.
Asked what the Governor meant by “special payments” if the states “adopt plans that everybody gets insured,” the Romney campaign told us the Governor “was referring to payments that are designated for the uninsured from the federal government (disproportionate share payments) that come from both Medicare and Medicaid. “You can bundle those payments and create incentives to get people insured.”
The fact that Journolist founder Klein was so willing to accept the selectively edited video from the DNC is proof positive that he is not acting as a journalist at the Washington Post, but as an advocate and mouth piece for his party. We know that Klein is the darling of the left and has a permanent spot on air at MSNBC, but isn’t it time WaPo editors start reigning him in a bit? If he can attack Romney with a deceptively edited video churned out by party hacks and not have to pay a price, then the Post is enabling and endorsing practices that are designed to deceive their readers instead of enlightening them.
This appears to be a larger strategy from the President’s allies to align Romney’s state initiative to cover Massachusetts citizens with health insurance with the President’s unconstitutional 2,700 page monstrosity– which exemplifies all that is wrong with his left-wing Utopian agenda.
Earlier this week, Democratic strategist and CNN analyst (is that redundant?) Paul Begala teased to a national audience:
Our viewers should know, I advised the pro-Obama super PAC and I can promise Governor Romney, we have the tape of him calling for a national individual mandate on health care.
To which host Wolf Blitzer replied:
He told Jim Acosta something along those lines. We have the videotape as well.
Well, it’s no secret what Romney told Jim Acosta, and no, it is not a call for a national mandate as Blitzer suggests. Here is what he said:
I think there are a number of features in the Massachusetts plan that could inform Washington on ways to improve health care for all Americans. The fact that we were able to get people insured without a government option is a model I think they can learn from.
That’s hardly a call for a national individual mandate.
The DNC’s video is misleading and dishonest, since it does not include Gov. Romney’s clear refusal to call for a national mandate, and the CNN/Acosta video is vague and can be interpreted in various ways.
Is the selectively edited DNC video the blockbuster tape that Begala promised CNN’s audience? Or does he have something else hidden away? And, since he is a paid analyst for CNN, shouldn’t the network press him on this issue, as it is their public responsibility to seek the truth rather than enable their employees to use their airwaves for political brinkmanship?
If Begala has something, he should come clean now, and his bosses at CNN should force him to.
We knew the likes of the Washington Post and CNN would stop at nothing to keep their guy in the White House. We’re just surprised they’re willing to shed their thin veneer of journalistic integrity this early in the campaign. Team Obama must really be panicking.