One of those signals was given last Friday by the outgoing Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs. Politico reports (emphasis mine):
Gibbs took the bait when asked about Mitt Romney’s speech at CPAC, in which the former Massachusetts governor didn’t exactly dwell on health care. “I don’t know why he wouldn’t,” Gibbs said, smiling, also remarking that it will be “interesting to see throughout the next two years if the two words ‘health care’ come out of his mouth.”Ouch.
Now, keep in mind what Obama told Bill O'Reilly during the pre-Super Bowl interview last week. He said:
Here's what I think is true. Over the first two years of my presidency, we had a complete disaster. Right?Right.
Then Obama went on to blame the economy, saying:
The financial markets were breaking down. We were slipping into a Great Depression.Now what did the Obama administration spend the first two years of his presidency doing? Getting his health care legislation passed and signed into (unconstitutional) law, that's what. He wasn't focused on the economy. His administration spent the bulk of their time trying to repackage and resell a bill that Americans did not want, no matter how the administration spun it. What better scenario for Team Obama, then to have that prickly issue taken off the table for 2012, in a bid to hold on to the White House?
Although Romney has taken to reworking his position (again) on health care, he cannot escape reality. The Obama people know this too. In fact, they credit Mitt Romney for the "blueprint" to the bill. As Politico reported:
Democrats have consistently pointed to the Massachusetts plan Romney signed into law as a forerunner for national legislation.Last year, Steve Kornacki from Salon gave a pretty good overview of how the left perceives Romney's attempt to redefine himself on the issue. He wrote:
As I noted in the recent post I wrote about Mitch Daniels, the left loves to exploit hypocrisy. It is a vital part of their game-plan to take the focus away from them, and put it back on to their Republican opponent. It is even common for them to invent hypocrisy where there is none, but in Mitt's case, that wouldn't be necessary.
It's not news when man bites dog, so why should it be any different when Mitt Romney makes a brash and insincere pronouncement?
And yet there was the one-time Massachusetts governor forcing his way into Monday morning's headlines with what may have been the most over-the-top of all of the over-the-top Republican reactions to the House's passage of Barack Obama's healthcare plan.
"An unconscionable abuse of power," Romney declared while asserting that the president "has betrayed his oath to the nation."
When Mitt starts talking like this, it's usually because he knows his own past record makes him vulnerable on the issue at hand.
And when it comes to healthcare, his hypocrisy is particularly galling. Romney is actually the only governor in American history ever to impose an individual health insurance mandate on his citizens. And an individual mandate, of course, is at the heart of Obama's reform package.
Nor is the mandate the only common ground between RomneyCare and ObamaCare; the Massachusetts plan that Romney signed into law in 2006 is essentially the blueprint for Obama's plan. Both rely on the same basic formula: a requirement that everyone purchase insurance and government assistance for those who can't afford it.
Governor Palin fought against Obamacare from day one. She took many hits from the left, and even from some in her own party for taking such a strong stand. This issue would be alive and well in a hypothetical Palin versus Obama campaign. Considering the shellacking the president has taken in his approval rating, and the "disaster" that defined his first two years, Team Obama doesn't want the match-up. They would much rather see Mitt Romney standing across from Obama in a debate, spouting more of that hypocrisy they so love.