Is Mitt Romney Blowing It Against Barack Obama?
The editorial board of Wall Street Journal slammed Mitt Romney Thursday accusing him of squandering an opportunity to attack President Obama. The editorial chastised the former Massachusetts governor and his advisers for mishandling the Supreme Court's ruling on Obama's Affordable Care Act, which upheld the healthcare law's controversial provision requiring all Americans buy health insurance on the grounds that it is a tax. Obama has insisted that it is a mandate (it is known as the "individual mandate") and Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told MSNBC's Chuck Todd that the former Massachusetts government agreed with the president that people paying the government for not having insurance should be characterized as paying a penalty, not a tax. (Mitt Romney enacted a similar healthcare policy in his state before becoming a critic of "Obamacare" on the campaign trail.) Fehrnstrom's assessment of the law was confirmed by Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul. However, Romney himself then said it was indeed a tax, but failed to elaborate on the distinction. The Wall Street Journal said, despite Romney's switch on the issue, not initially calling the mandate a tax cost the Romney campaign a key criticism that Obama was raising taxes on the middle class
The tax/mandate fumble, said the Wall Street Journal, points to a larger issue in the campaign, which "looks confused in addition to being politically dumb." The editorial said that the campaign must provide "a larger economic narrative and vision than Mr. Romney has so far provided," and that Romney's experience as businessman is not alone strong enough to take him to the White House. "Mr. Romney promised Republicans he was the best man to make the case against President Obama, whom they desperately want to defeat. So far Mr. Romney is letting them down," the editorial concludes. Is Romney blowing it? Here is the Debate Club's take: