Wall Street Journal: Romney campaign 'politically dumb' over healthcare

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The editorial is only the latest example of public disappointment in how Romney is running his campaign from a source that might otherwise be an ally.

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, who owns the Journal, has also criticized Romney's team recently, tweeting that Romney might not win the presidency unless "he drops old friends from [his] team and hires some real pros." Murdoch later tweeted that Romney's campaign was "upset at me," apparently over the criticism. 

Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior adviser for the Romney campaign, said Monday that despite the Supreme Court upholding the individual mandate portion of law based on taxing authority, Romney believes it is a penalty, not a tax. 

That position would put Romney in agreement with President Obama. Ben LaBolt, the national press secretary for Obama's campaign, confirmed to CNN on Thursday morning that Obama disagrees with the court that the mandate is a tax.

But the GOP has latched onto the court's decision to call the healthcare bill a tax hike, and in other, recent interviews, Romney has said that "the court said that it's a tax and therefore it is a tax," not a penalty.

The editorial points to Romney's contradictory statements, noting that "he offered no elaboration, and so the campaign looks confused in addition to being politically dumb."

The editorial continues:

The Romney campaign thinks it can play it safe and coast to the White House by saying the economy stinks and it's Mr. Obama's fault. We're on its email list and the main daily message from the campaign is that "Obama isn't working." Thanks, guys, but Americans already know that. What they want to hear from the challenger is some understanding of why the President's policies aren't working and how Mr. Romney's policies will do better.

It offers some advice for how Romney's team might have done a better job, but concludes that Romney is "letting down" Republicans.