Tim Pawlenty goes after “ObamneyCare.”
It goes downhill fast when your own spokesperson begins, “According to Congressman Weiner, his communications with this person were neither explicit nor indecent.” Brutal.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) goes Baghdad Bob: “We were able to, under President Obama’s leadership, turn the economy around.” Not even NBC’s David Gregory buys it. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus calls it “Fantasyland.”
Jon Huntsman goes to the left of Obama on Afghanistan. But former New Hampshire governor John H. Sununu has the soundbite. “Asked why he didn’t name Huntsman as a Republican he might support, Sununu replied: ‘I only support Republicans. He was fawning over Obama to the point where he sounded like he should have been on MSNBC. . . . The problem wasn’t so much that he served as ambassador but that he just gushed over policies that made no sense.”
Bill Kristol goes after the notion that Mitt Romney is a real front-runner. “There’s a New Hampshire poll. That could be Romney’s strongest state, presumably. He’s way ahead in the Boston Globe poll. You look inside the poll a little bit, 76 percent of voters say they are actually undecided. Sixteen percent say they may change their mind. So he is way ahead among the 8 percent of Republican primary voters who have made up their mind. I think the mood this year with Republican primary voters is, go out and make the case. Go out and win the nomination. Don’t huddle with your consultants for a week and say, that Iowa straw poll, I don’t really like that, and then we’ve got to skip the Florida straw poll, as you suggested, because otherwise it looks bad for skipping the Iowa straw poll. And it’s over-thinking, I would say — would be my hunch about what Mitt Romney is doing.”
If President Obama goes for a large drawdown of troops, it would be a big mistake. The Post editorial board writes, “Mr. Obama’s July pullout date seemed driven more by domestic political considerations than sound strategy — and his argument that it would push the Afghan government to step up proved faulty. Some reports suggest that proposals driven by similar calculations are under consideration — such as setting the fall of 2012 as a date for withdrawing all 30,000 of the surge troops. We hope that the president will not repeat the mistake of publicly setting withdrawal dates. Instead, he should bet on sustaining the gains his strategy has achieved — by minimizing this summer’s pullout.”
It goes from bad to worse in Syria. “Syrian troops on Sunday regained control of a restive northwestern town, clashing with mutinous soldiers whose decision to side with armed protesters posed a potent threat to the authoritarian regime.” If Obama no longer considers him a reformer (we would hope), why isn’t he demanding Bashar al-Assad leave?