When a pro-Obama Super PAC released an advertisement in which a man essentially accused Mitt Romney of killing his wife who died of cancer, the ad was widely denounced across the spectrum including the mainstream media. After this thorough condemnation, Obama campaign officials scrambled — and lied — to run as far away from the ad as possible, saying they had no knowledge of the family depicted in the ad.
The problem was that the man in the ad had been on conference calls with the Obama campaign in the past and is featured on Obama campaign websites. The man is Joe Soptic and he falsely accused Bain Capital of shutting down a plant in which he worked, causing his wife to eventually die from cancer when the family could not afford private insurance.
Somehow, the Romney campaign again managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by using the moment to inexplicably bring up — and defend — Romneycare.
In an interview on FOX News, Romney Press Secretary Andrea Saul said:
“To that point, if people had been in Massachusetts, under Gov. Romney’s health care plan, they would have had health care … There are lots of people losing their jobs and losing their health care in President Obama’s economy.”
At a campaign stop in Iowa Romney brought up Romneycare, suggesting Saul’s response was not a gaffe but part of the campaign’s messaging strategy:
We’ve got to do reforms in health care and I have some experience doing that, as you know. I know how to make a better setting than the one we have in health care. I want to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions are able to get insurance and that people don’t have to worry about getting dropped from their insurance coverage and that health care is available to all people.
During the primaries, Romney had a chance to apologize for Romneycare, admit it was the wrong thing to enact, and then tell Republicans and Americans that he is the best person to dismantle Obamacare, which was based on Romneycare.
Romney did not do this, and thus he never earned the trust of conservatives and found himself in a no-man’s zone when it came to health care, unable to run from his past and unable to attack Obamacare in an intellectually honest — and consistent — manner.
Romney was given another hanging curve ball, so to speak, after the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare was Constitutional, but only because it was a tax. And again, he whiffed.
Romney had a chance to knock the proverbial ball out of the park by running against Obamacare as a tax but his chief spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, took the wind out of those sails by saying Obamacare was instead a “penalty.” As Breitbart News editor Joel Pollak wrote at the time, Romney could have said Obamacare — like Romneycare — was a tax and won the honesty debate over Obama by presenting himself as someone who told the resident of Massachusetts that Romneycare was explicitly a tax (in the statute) as compared to the more deceitful Obama. Romney could have not only run against the largest middle class tax increase in history, but also against a president who had promised not to raise taxes against the middle class. But the campaign’s response out of the gate did not afford Romney an opportunity to do this.
But the Romney campaign’s most recent response regarding Romneycare is more troubling. If these comments were gaffes, it runs counter to how the Romney campaign was sold to conservatives who distrusted him in the primaries — that Romney was the only candidate with the resources to hire the best paid professionals to battle the Obama machine.
If these comments were indeed part of a strategy of embracing Romneycare, then they reveal a candidate, along with his most senior advisers who share the same sentiment, who is not troubled by a government mandating citizens to purchase a private insurance product. Such a mentality is not only stupid politics, but also is not reflective of the views of not only conservatives but much of the country that rose up against Obamacare during the 2010 midterm elections.