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September 26, 2011

New Perry Ad Attacks Romney For Changing Words About RomneyCare In Book

There was a dispute about this in the debate. Perry alleged Romney had deleted an inconvenient sentence from his book when it was published in softcover, editing out a statement that suggested he could bring a form of RomneyCare to the nation at large.

Romney claimed the sentence said no such thing. Politifact, which poses as some kind of nonpartisan truth-telling service, claimed that Perry's statement was Mostly False.

But it did so in a Snopes-like way. Snopes clearly leans to the liberal side, and has a dirty habit of "resolving" disputes by inserting in its own rooting position and ideological arguments.

Looking at that PolitiFact piece, my own rating would be "Mostly True."

Perry's ad reinforces that.

I remember covering this at the time -- there was a minor rumbling over the edit in 2010 -- and it had been my impression then, as it is now, that Romney had deleted a sentence which certainly seemed to suggest that RomneyCare could serve as a national health care model, or at the very least a starting point for drafting a program.

Which is pretty much what happened, actually.

But This Ad Doesn't Address The Problem: Rick Perry's strategy seems wrong-headed to me. It was my belief that there was such a longing for a consensus candidate who seemed like he could win (and did not have RomneyCare baggate) that all Perry had to do was show up and give a good accounting of himself, and the nomination was his.

But instead he seems to be fighting attacks with his own attacks. That may be the conventional thinking on this, but in fact Perry would own the nomination if he could (and I don't know if he can, any longer) simply defend himself effectively, and de-fang the attacks against him, and present himself as a strong, effective conservative voice.

In the first Perry debate (I think), Ron Paul attacked Perry for writing a letter "praising" HillaryCare, and Perry refuted that, briefly, before attacking Ron Paul for having quit the Republican Party while Reagan was President.

That wasn't effective. Who cares about Ron Paul? The additional time should have been used reminding people that HillaryCare was a notoriously secret commission, so when Perry wrote that letter (which simply urged the commission to keep in mind farmers, his constituency as Ag Commissioner), he had no idea what Hillary was crafting. Could have been anything, including some kind of conservative-friendly plan. (Hey, it could have happened.)

But instead, only a brief explanation of his own letter, and an attack on Ron Paul.

He seems to think that if he knocks an opponent, that's the same as defending himself. It's not.

If he were effectively defending himself, this post wouldn't even exist, because he'd be at 45% support in the party.

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posted by Ace at 11:41 AM

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