Preventable mistakes

The June jobs report couldn't come fast enough for Mitt Romney's campaign — anything to get off the topic of Romney's "politically dumb" moment, as The Wall Street Journal described it.

The Supreme Court ruling on President Obama's healthcare reform law left the campaign tongued-tied and the resulting blunder was so big all the fireworks in the country Wednesday couldn't keep it out of the headlines.

First, Romney's top aide called the individual mandate a penalty, and then Romney decided — after taking much conservative heat — to break from his family vacation, give an interview to CBS News and call it a tax.

Oopsie. Recall that Romney not only used an individual mandate for the purchase of healthcare in his own law in Massachusetts, but he recommended in 2009 that Obama use one as well in order to rein in "free riders" who impose the cost of healthcare on the rest of us who pay for it. He is quite sure, however, that he didn't tax anyone with his mandate in Massachusetts.

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For the establishment of the GOP, worried about possibly losing what they see as a perfect shot at defeating President Obama, it was frustrating — a rookie mistake for someone who has run for president these last six years in a row. For grassroots conservatives who never trusted Romney anyway — whoa. It didn't end with the Journal saying, "In a stroke, the Romney campaign contradicted Republicans throughout the country who had used the chief justice's opinion to declare accurately that Mr. Obama had raised taxes on the middle class ... Mr. Romney favored the individual mandate as part of his reform in Massachusetts, and as we've said from the beginning of his candidacy, his failure to admit that mistake makes him less able to carry the anti-ObamaCare case to voters." By Thursday, some in his party suggested Romney get off the jet skis after photos surfaced of him cruising around his expensive waterside resort home in New Hampshire.

Next time something tough rolls around, Team Romney will have to spend a bit more time deliberating before they talk, to avoid making an entirely preventable mistake.

And on another topic, also from the Department of Awkward, why did Josh Romney say this of the family's New Hampshire retreat to a New York Times reporter? "We hope America doesn't discover how cool this place is, because we love having it to ourselves."

Get this family back on the campaign trail.

 
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