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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 02/23/2012

Morning Bits

James Capretta on the momentum for a premium support plan: “When The New York Times and . . . [Rep. Paul] Ryan are calling for essentially the same type of reform, political momentum is clearly building for the change. This is very good news for those who are counting on Medicare to be there for them in the coming years and decades.”

When Rick Santorum’s staff, whose candidate put religion front and center in his campaign and talks about it incessantly, tries out this line, you know they must be in a tailspin. “ ‘Why is Mormonism off limits?’ asks one [staffer]. ‘I’m not saying it’s a seminal issue in the campaign, but we’re having to spend days answering questions about Rick’s faith, which he has been open about. Romney will turn on a dime when you talk about religion. We’re getting asked about specific tenets of Rick’s faith, and when Romney says, “I want to focus on the economy,” they say, OK, we’ll focus on the economy.’ ” Perhaps it is because Romney doesn’t use religion as a basis for or as a cudgel in public policy.

When politicians say such things, you wonder if they have anyone around to talk sense to them. “Senator Rand Paul told a local radio station in Kentucky that he’d welcome an offer to run on Mitt Romney’s ticket in the general election.”

Be careful when you wish for something. Jim Pethokoukis: “I wanted corp. tax reform in the worst way — and that is just what Obama gave me.”

When you vote one way and talk another, it is often a problem. “Rick Santorum promises to cut food stamps spending if he is elected, but he had a prime opportunity to rein in the program when he was in the Senate. Not only did he vote the wrong way, but by his own admission he played a central role in blocking what would have been a very reasonable change in the way the program is administered. If the accusation of being insensitive to the plight of the poor was enough to convince Santorum to oppose such a reasonable, and ultimately nominal reduction in food stamp spending in 2005 — when the unemployment rate was less than 5% — I’m not sure why we should believe that he would resist this same type of pressure in making the more significant cuts he has promised.” (h/t Hot Air)

When Robert Costa writes, the campaign should read. “This year, the fear among Republican strategists is that the Santorum of 2006 — and not the Santorum who swept Pennsylvania in 1994 and 2000 — is the candidate on the 2012 trail. He is widely considered to be a powerful force but a highly unpredictable and potentially disastrous campaigner. Sure, he has risen to the top of the polls and he could win the nomination. But to many Republican hands, it’s an open question whether he could improve his appeal to independents and women. There is a gnawing sense that the lessons of his 2006 defeat have not been internalized but bypassed — that he has largely ignored them while running to the right of Mitt Romney. Santorum appears to have mellowed during his six years in the wilderness, but there are frequent flashes of the temper of old, of the fiery culture warrior.”

When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appears, hilarity ensues. “During a discussion with CNN’s Piers Morgan about tax rates, Christie made it known that he’s just about had it with [Warren] Buffett, the world-famous investor who lent his name to a proposed tax hike on the rich. ‘He should just write a check and shut up,’ Christie said. ‘I’m tired of hearing about it. If he wants to give the government more money, he’s got the ability to write a check — go ahead and write it.’ ” Oh, man, the general election sure could be fun with him on the ticket.

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 02/23/2012

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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