7:15 PM, Mar 19, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
This afternoon, Mitt Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul emailed a brief, edited video of rival Rick Santorum speaking in Moline, Illinois today. "I don't care what the unemployment rate's going to be," Santorum says in the five-second clip. "Doesn't matter to me."
Saul added her thoughts:
Wow. Sen. Santorum may not care about the unemployment rate in this country or the nearly 24 million Americans struggling for work, but Mitt Romney does and is running to get people back to work. If anyone needed evidence that Rick Santorum is an economic lightweight, they needn’t look any further than his various statements today. We're not going to turn around this economy by replacing one former senator with zero job-creating experience with another senator with zero job-creating experience. He has proven it once again.
Rebecca Kaplan at National Journal, however, provides a bit more context for the Santorum quotation. "We need a candidate who's going to be a fighter for freedom. Who’s going to get up and make that the central theme in this race because it is the central theme in this race," Santorum said, according to Kaplan's report. "I don't care what the unemployment rate's going to be. Doesn't matter to me. My campaign doesn't hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates. It's something more foundational that's going on."
Kaplan also has Santorum's response to the Romney campaign:
Santorum sought to clarify his comments to reporters after the event by saying that freedom supersedes the unemployment issue, and he tried to paint Romney’s economic plan as a nonconservative approach.
“Of course I care about the unemployment rate. I want the unemployment rate to go down, but I’m saying, my candidacy doesn’t hinge on whether the unemployment rate goes up and down,” he said. “Our candidacy’s about something that transcends that; its about freedom, its not about, you know, Governor Romney’s idea that he’s going to fix the economy which is something that, of course, we as Republicans don’t believe that presidents fix the economy; we believe that we try to do things to create an atmosphere for the economy to fix itself.”
Moreover, this isn't exactly breaking news. Santorum has said this often throughout the campaign--that the election isn't about the economy as much as it is about the threat to American freedom posed by Obamacare--whereas Romney has argued it's primarily about the economy and jobs. Those distinct readings of the election say a lot about how both Santorum and Romney view themselves and their potential presidencies.
12:02 PM, Mar 18, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
The anniversary of Obamacare's passage is later this week, and the debate over health care and mandates (both regarding Obamacare and Romneycare) continues to carry on. Here's Jeff Jacoby, writing about Mitt Romney's health care plan--and the former Massachusetts governor's commitment to it--in the Boston Globe:
Mar 26, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 27 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Why is there still so much resistance among Republican primary voters to Mitt Romney, the likely but not inevitable GOP nominee? Perhaps the deepest reason is this: At a moment in history when we need a bold commitment to reform, a fundamental willingness to limit the state and revitalize self-government, Romney’s achievements and qualifications seem out of step with the times.
2:14 PM, Mar 13, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Summarizing President Obama's accomplishments to date, Jonathan Cohn writes in the New Republic, "Health care reform alone constitutes a major legislative legacy. The Recovery Act launched infrastructure and energy projects that could shape the economy and, by the way, education for a generation.
8:05 AM, Feb 24, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
During Wednesday night’s Republican debate, moderator John King said, “Governor Romney, both Senator Santorum and Speaker Gingrich have said during your tenure as governor, you required Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims. And Mr. Speaker, you compared the governor to President Obama, saying he infringed on Catholics’ rights. Governor, did you do that?”
12:05 AM, Feb 8, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Remember the second Florida GOP debate on Thursday night, January 26, in Jacksonville? Mitt Romney came out pummeling Newt Gingrich, Gingrich was ineffectual in response, and Romney sailed on to a decisive victory five days later in Florida. This was soon followed by Romney's easy triumph in Nevada last Saturday. The Romney inevitabilists were once again out in force.
Tell that to the Tea Party.
1:15 AM, Jan 27, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
More than anyone else during any of the previous Republican presidential debates, Rick Santorum took dead aim tonight at the similarities between Romneycare and Obamacare. Arguing that those similarities could pose great problems for the Republican party and for the prospects for repeal if Mitt Romney were to win the nomination, Santorum implored GOP voters to remember, “We can’t give this issue away in this election.”
12:30 AM, Jan 27, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
Between Sunday and Wednesday, Newt Gingrich went from leading Mitt Romney by 8 points to trailing Mitt Romney by 8 points in the Florida GOP primary polls. Thursday night's debate in Jacksonville was Gingrich's best opportunity--and most likely his only--ahead of Tuesday's primary to reverse Romney's momentum. But far from landing a knockout blow, it was Gingrich who was thrown back on his heels.
9:30 AM, Jan 26, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In wake of his 12-point defeat in the South Carolina primary (which no previous Republican nominee has lost), Mitt Romney’s principal challenge is to convince Republican primary voters that he shares their core convictions and concerns. Above all, he needs to convince them that he shares their determination to repeal every last one of the 2,700 pages of Obamacare.
1:22 AM, Jan 20, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In tonight’s debate, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum both questioned whether Mitt Romney actually governed in a pro-life fashion, even after his public conversion on abortion. Both claimed that Romney’s health care law increased access to taxpayer-subsidized abortion. Romney denied any culpability, replying, “That was done by the courts.” Fortunately, PolitiFact has looked into this matter on more than one occasion.
1:02 AM, Jan 20, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
North Charleston, S.C.
Considering the extended discussions of health care overhauls and unreleased tax returns, Mitt Romney had a tough night in the final debate before Saturday’s primary.
Thursday night's debate may have served to highlight two of Mitt's vulnerabilities.12:38 AM, Jan 20, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
It's notoriously hard to judge the political consequences of candidate debates. The media and political elites tend to opine as either drama critics judging performance art or as professors judging intellectual arguments. Doing well on one or another of these criteria can matter for a candidate. But usually not much.
1:27 PM, Jan 8, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
In this morning’s Republican presidential debate on Meet the Press, David Gregory asked Mitt Romney, “What would you say to conservatives, so that they'll trust that you'll stand up for conservative principles?” Without skipping a beat, Romney replied, “They've got my record as governor.”