October 11, 2012

THEY CAN'T ARGUE BOTH THAT HE'S AN EXTREMIST AND THAT HE'S RETURNING TO HIS NORMAL MODERATION:

Romney shifts to more moderate stances on taxes, immigration, health care, education (Karen Tumulty, October 10, 2012, Washington Post)

At a rally in Las Vegas, former president Bill Clinton mocked Romney's shifts, saying they were evident in last week's presidential debate, which was almost universally regarded as a win for the Republican.

"I had a different reaction to that first debate than a lot of people did," he said, laying it on with his buttery Arkansas drawl. "I thought: 'Wow, here's old moderate Mitt. Where ya been, boy? I miss you all these last two years.'‚ÄČ"

Clinton added: "It was like one of these Bain Capital deals, you know, where he's the closer. So he shows up, doesn't really know much about the deal and says, 'Tell me what I'm supposed to say to close.' Now, the problem with this deal is the deal was made by severe-conservative Mitt."

Of course, a second-half pivot is a time-honored maneuver in the political playbook. In a primary campaign, a candidate must play to the passions of the base; as he moves toward the general election, the sensibilities of swing voters become paramount.

Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom telegraphed as much in an instantly famous interview on CNN in March, when he said: "I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch a Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again."

But Romney did not begin making those moves until shortly before the first debate, when polls suggested that victory might be slipping out of his reach.

Obama's campaign strategists say they have suspected all along that Romney would try to dis¬≠entangle himself from the more strident positions he has taken since starting his first presidential campaign in 2007. 

Voters love flip-floppers, because it means they aren't ideologues.

Posted by at October 11, 2012 4:52 AM
  

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