Saturday, January 23, 2010

Massachusetts' Other GOP Winner ~ By Kim Strassel

Mitt Romney should write off his health-care plan as a mistake that Democrats have made worse. Kim Strassel By Kim Strassel OPINION: POTOMAC WATCH | JANUARY 21, 2010, 9:41 P.M. ET Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts has most Republicans hopeful about midterm elections. It has Mitt Romney hopeful about 2012. In many ways, the former Bay State governor never ended his 2008 presidential campaign. From a perch atop his Free and Strong America PAC, Mr. Romney has been raising money, nurturing his team, keeping himself in the national spotlight. With the Massachusetts Senate race, he sensed an unexpected opportunity to step to the front of the GOP presidential ranks. Mitt Romney (left) congratulates Scott Brown on election night.He played it nicely. Aware that many voters have mixed views of his governorship, Mr. Romney stayed in the shadows, leaving other notables to stump with Mr. Brown. Behind the scenes was a different story. Mr. Romney headlined fundraisers for the little-known state senator and used his own national mailing list to help raise dollars. He called on supporters to make calls on Mr. Brown's behalf, and he harnessed his media operations to bolster the candidate. His closest aides flooded to Mr. Brown, bringing with them the savvy of a national operation. Beth Lindstrom, a cabinet official in the Romney administration, served as Mr. Brown's campaign manager. Also in Brown HQ were Beth Myers, Mr. Romney's presidential campaign manager, and Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom, who worked on the now-famous TV spots showing a tax-cutting John F. Kennedy morphing into Mr. Brown. Mr. Romney got his due on election night. He was the first political figure Mr. Brown thanked for helping "show us the way to victory." Romney allies had already been busy touting his role. "There's no one who has done more behind the scenes and in front of the scenes than Mitt," Republican National Committee member Ron Kaufman told Politico—two days before the election. By midweek, the political pundits decreed Mr. Romney the other big winner. Some went so far as to credit him with the 41st vote, potentially saving the nation from ObamaCare. In doing so, they unwittingly touched on the flip side of this week's race. For all the benefits this contest held for the former governor, it also churned up what will prove the biggest obstacle to Romney 2012. Mr. Brown brazenly turned his Senate bid into a referendum on President Obama's health plan, and voters rewarded him with a job. Yet ObamaCare's model was the health reform inflicted on Massachusetts by a certain Republican governor in 2006, otherwise known as RomneyCare. READ FULL STORY >
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