Obama Damns Romney with Faint Praise
Though the 2012 presidential season hasn’t started quite yet, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney earned an endorsement earlier today that he’s probably not too happy about. While addressing the National Governors Association at the White House, President Obama complimented his would-be challenger in a fashion that will come back to haunt Romney come primary season. As USA Today reports:
In telling critical GOP governors they could develop their own health care plans, Obama said, “I know that many of you have asked for flexibility” under the new federal law.
“In fact, I agree with Mitt Romney, who recently said he’s proud of what he accomplished on health care in Massachusetts and supports giving states the power to determine their own health care solutions,” Obama said.
In a limited sense, Romney should take the remarks as a compliment. Though Obama’s invocation of the Massachusetts health care plan is partially intended to make Obamacare seem centrist, the president also knows that it will cause grief for the former governor with the GOP rank and file. As such, it’s a sign that Romney is a potential opponent Obama wouldn’t mind seeing knocked out of contention.
In a bigger sense, however, Romney is stuck with an albatross. Ask most conservatives what they consider the greatest sin of the Obama Administration and they will point to the government takeover of health care without hesitation. For any potential Republican presidential candidate, having an executive record that includes creating the program that Obama cites as his intellectual template is devastating.
Translation: it may be bad for Romney that Obama took a shot at him. But it’s much worse that Romney gave him the ammunition.