Nate Silver noted this morning that Mitt Romney probably isn’t “playing to his strength” by emphasizing Rick Santorum’s 2004 endorsement of former Sen. Arlen Specter.
I agree, but the Romney campaign doesn’t seem to care.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter left Capitol Hill more than a year ago, but Mitt Romney’s campaign is working hard to give the party-switching ex-lawmaker a political revival of sorts.
The Romney campaign released a new web video on Friday highlighting the alliance between Specter and Rick Santorum when the two were colleagues in the U.S. Senate.
“Rick Santorum supported Specter over conservative candidates – twice,” the video’s narrator says. “Santorum and Specter voted for liberal Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Santorum and Specter both sided with big labor against right to work.”
But the most damning charge is the one that Romney, himself, made at Wednesday night’s presidential debate in Arizona: That Santorum’s continued support of Specter helped deliver the deciding vote for President Obama’s health care plan.
Let me get this straight. Before launching a presidential campaign, Mitt Romney supported abortion rights, gay rights, gun control, “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants, and combating climate change. He distanced himself from Reagan, attended Planned Parenthood fundraisers, voted in a Democratic primary, helped create the blueprint for the Affordable Care Act, and described his political views as “progressive.”
But he nevertheless wants Republicans to believe Rick Santorum is unreliably conservative because, prior to his own presidential campaign, he supported the re-election campaign of an in-state Republican colleague.
The focus groups must have found this compelling, or the Romney campaign wouldn’t be pushing the line so aggressively, but the attack takes a healthy amount of chutzpah.