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Must Read Op-Eds for Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A PERFECT DOLLMAUREEN DOWDNEW YORK TIMESAs chief executive of Bain Capital...

A PERFECT DOLLMAUREEN DOWDNEW YORK TIMESAs chief executive of Bain Capital...[Mitt Romney] took a rare personal interest in one of his investments: the Lifelike Company, which produced My Twinn dolls, fashioned to look like the little girls who owned them. ... I’m beginning to suspect that before the factory shut down, Mitt requested his own customized doll. He has clearly brought a My Twinn on the trail — a plastic replica of a candidate who’s often described as a plastic replica: white teeth, gelled hair, windowpane shirt, Tommy Bahama jeans. ... Romney may have been a Wall Street predator, looter and vulture gnawing at the carcasses of companies... But Mitt’s My Twinn is Just Like You.

THE REPUBLICAN CONTESTEDITORIALNEW YORK TIMESThe [GOP] candidates’ economic arguments [leading up to the New Hampshire primary] were disturbingly disconnected from economic reality. They spoke of government spending as if it were the sole cause of the federal budget deficit and cutting it the sole solution. In reality, it was tax cuts for the wealthy, an assault on social programs and a deregulatory zeal that allowed a recklessness that led to near economic collapse. ... The answer is not more of the same failed policies. The solution is to revive the successful ones, along with policies to stimulate the economy and stop foreclosures. Mr. Obama understands this. The Republican hopefuls are deluding themselves and trying to delude the voters. THE BAIN OF HIS CAMPAIGN?EDITORIALWASHINGTON POSTIf anything could trip up former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in his pursuit of the Republican presidential nomination, it might be the charge that he and the private-equity firm he co-founded, Bain Capital, got rich dismantling companies and destroying jobs. … Risking your money on a business idea, and persuading others to join you, is Capitalism 101, a strange thing for conservatives like Mr. Perry and Mr. Gingrich to criticize — the latter with the “independent” help of a super PAC bankrolled by a casino magnate. Better that private parties take investment risks than government — as in the case of now-bankrupt Solyndra, or the hundreds of millions in state funds that Mr. Perry has steered to Texas high-tech firms.MITT ROMNEY'S BEST SPEECHJENNIFER RUBINWASHINGTON POSTMitt Romney’s victory speech in New Hampshire was the most effective of this campaign. Clearly he aimed to defuse critics who are intent on underplaying his remarkable win. Reminding the crowd that no one other than an incumbent president has ever won both the Iowa and New Hampshire contests, he declared: “Tonight we made history!” ... Romney was more relaxed and emotional than he was in his Iowa speech. He managed to use the primetime spot productively. Now he has the momentum. And he finally may have found a way to connect with conservatives. That is far more important than the few delegates he picked up [last night].ROMNEY'S GRANITE STATEMENTEDITORIALWALL STREET JOURNAL Mr. Romney's main strength continues to be the GOP perception of his electability and leadership, more than his ideas. The lack of ideas has been one of his weaknesses in trying to unite the GOP, as most voters still break for the bolder colors of Mr. Paul and the rest. If he wants to unite the party and motivate it for the battle against Mr. Obama, Mr. Romney will need some bolder colors himself. In his victory speech, he at least began to stake out a contrast with Mr. Obama, including a good line that the U.S. is better when "we are lifted up by our desire to succeed, not dragged down by a resentment of success." New Hampshire showed that some of his GOP competitors could benefit from that lesson.  THE BAIN CAPITAL BONFIREEDITORIALWALL STREET JOURNALMr. Romney has a good story to tell if he is willing to elevate this ugly rumble into a debate over free enterprise and America's future. ... Mr. Romney needs to rise above the personal and base his claim to office on a defense of the system of free enterprise that has enriched America over the decades and is now under assault. Mr. Obama will attack Mr. Romney as Gordon Gekko because the President can't win by touting his own economic record. Mr. Romney's GOP opponents (with the admirable exception of Rick Santorum) are embarrassing themselves by taking the Obama line, but Mr. Romney should view this as an opportunity to stake his campaign on something larger and far more important than his own business expertise.