Romney slams Santorum for agreeing with him

Updated
 
Romney slams Santorum for agreeing with him
Romney slams Santorum for agreeing with him
Associated Press

In last week’s debate for the Republican presidential candidates, Mitt Romney put Rick Santorum on the defense over several issues, but at the top of the list was the former senator’s vote for No Child Left Behind. Santorum expressed some regret for the vote, but said politics is a “team sport,” and he was trying to support the Republican administration at the time.

The response drew boos from the audience.

Just as important, it also drew ridicule from Romney. The former governor said of Santorum the next day, “He talked of this of being ‘taking for one the team.’ I wonder which team he was taking it for. My team is the American people, not the insiders in Washington.”

There is, however, a rather important detail that Romney hopes GOP voters won’t notice: he supported No Child Left Behind, too. In fact, Romney was going after Santorum for holding a position that Romney happens to agree with.

BuzzFeed notes George W. Bush campaigning in support of Romney’s gubernatorial campaign in October 2002, and applauding Romney for supporting the NCLB law.

Romney hasn’t abandoned that position … and his staff say there’s nothing awkward about his attacking Santorum for taking the same side as he did.

“Gov. Romney’s criticism of Santorum is that he voted for NCLB even though he said he was opposed on principle,” said a Romney aide. “Typical insider.”

This is a little tough to wrap one’s head around. Santorum supported No Child Left Behind; Romney supported No Child Left Behind. Santorum sided with George W. Bush on the policy; Romney sided with George W. Bush on the policy. Santorum now regrets his vote; Romney still supports the education law.

So, Romney is going on the attack because Santorum took the same position Romney took, only Santorum now wishes he hadn’t. Hmm.

Greg Sargent notes this afternoon that the oddity of a story like this won’t necessarily cause much of a stir. Why not? Greg considers this compelling observation: “It’s worth wondering whether Romney is benefitting from a kind of ‘flip flop fatigue,’ in which the crush of equivocations, reversals and rhetorical contortions has gotten so relentless and ubiquitous that people are too exhausted to bother tracking or objecting to them anymore.”

Romney slams Santorum for agreeing with him

Updated