I will admit it. As a former RINO (they no longer exist in the GOP) aka moderate Republican I was a huge admirer of former Massachesetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the incarnation he often seems to be trying to escape: his performance and persona as one of the country’s top moderate Republican Governors. So I’ve often given him the benefit of the doubt on “flip flops.” But there are limits and now we’ve reached it.
This is so funny it almost seems like something that aired on SNL. No joke. MSNBC’s First read:
*** Romney’s full flop: Mitt Romney at the most recent GOP debate said President Obama made the economy “worse;” In New Hampshire last week, he said of Obama, “He did not cause this recession, but he made it worse.” But then, answering a question from NBC’s Sue Kroll, who ticked off several positive items about the economy, including expansion of the gross-domestic product and the improved stock market (as well as mentioning the negative news of a lagging unemployment number), Romney said, “I didn’t say that things are worse.” And then by the weekend, the GOP presidential front runner reverted back to his original form: “Our president has failed us,” NBC’s Matt Loffman reports. “The recession is deeper because of our president.” Technically, the recession’s been over for a while now.
It’s truly difficult to see how a politico who is literally handing his potential opponent for the White House ammunition can win with this kind of position changing. Romney’s adherence to positions almost is like someone at night who tosses and turns and tosses and turns. With these kind of quick position changes who does Romney think he is? Newt Gingrich?
UPDATE ii: The Democrats have already responded to Romney’s political godsend. It truly looks awful when you look at the contradictory tape:
UPDATE 2: Mark Halperin:
It is too early to tell if this latest slip-up by Romney will have a lasting effect on his candidacy. It is perilous for him because it plays into the flip-flopper meme that both fellow Republicans and the Obama campaign want to exploit whenever possible against him. The situation also suggests that although Romney is clearly much improved as a candidate from last cycle (as Bill Clinton pointed out over the weekend), he is still prone to unforced errors.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.