Mitt Romney’s campaign press secretary, Andrea Saul, has kicked up a bit of a storm with her response to a new ad from a pro-Obama super PAC.
The spot, which was unveiled Wednesday, features a man who lost his job when Bain Capital shuttered the Kansas City steel plant he worked at in 2001. “When Mitt Romney and Bain closed the plant,” he says in the ad, “I lost my health care and my family lost their health care. And a short time after that my wife became ill.” Some vital context is missing, and the Romney campaign is on solid ground in crying foul.
But when Saul appeared on Fox News on Wednesday, she went much further than that, telling host Bill Hemmer that if the man and his wife “had been in Massachusetts, under Governor Romney’s health care plan, they would have had health care.” It took a while for Saul’s comment to go viral, but by this morning several conservatives were voicing their displeasure.
Red State’s Erick Erickson wrote a piece entitled;
“The Moment All the Doubts About Romney Resurfaced on the Right.”
Washington Examiner’s Phillip Klein wrote;
“Not sure if the Romney camp realizes what a huge opening they’ve just created for Ds on Obamacare.”
Recall that Romney pointedly refusedto repudiate the Massachusetts law while running in the GOP primaries. And in the rare instances when he was pressed on it in debates, he was fond of citing its broad popularity with the state’s voters. What Saul said, then, really isn’t at odds with what Romney has been saying about healthcare.
Where things get tricky is the fake distinction Romney has made between his state law and Obama’s federal law. This was how he got through the GOP primaries, railing against the freedom-killing evils of Obamacare while claiming that his own law is different in vital, substantive ways. It all amounted to gobbledygook, but it meshed with where most Republicans really are on healthcare: They hate Obamacare, but don’t really know or care much about what’s actually in the law. (And, in fact, when you ask them about specific components, they often end up saying they like them.)