Yesterday morning, Mitt Romney was sitting on top of the world, Ma. He had just won decisively in Florida (the Southern state full of Northeastern refugees.) It looked like smooth sailing ahead, as his campaign staff, their paid internet posters, and the MSM had a lot of Americans convinced that the flip-floppin’ Moderate was, in fact, a Conservative.
Then, Mitt’s not-so-very-nice day began.
The morning started off with news that Mitt has inserted his foot in his mouth:
Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, confident after his Florida primary victory, ended up inviting criticism Wednesday when he said he’s “not concerned about the very poor” because they have an “ample safety net.”
Democrats and Republicans alike – including opponent Newt Gingrich – pounced and the GOP front-runner quickly sought to explain his remarks.
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no,” Romney told reporters on his campaign plane when asked about the comments. “No, no, no. You’ve got to take the whole sentence, all right, it’s mostly the same.” He said his remark was consistent with his theme throughout the race, adding: “My energy is going to be devoted to helping middle-income people.”
Despite that explanation, Romney’s comments quickly became an immediate distraction from his message that he’s more conservative than Gingrich and from the double-digit thumping the former House speaker sustained in Florida. His campaign worked behind the scenes to provide context for the comment.
Spin, baby, spin. Now we know why his handlers don’t let Mitt speak extemporaneously very often. But, hey, he still has all those delegates from Florida, huh?
Uhhh…maybe not. Foxnews.com reports that
The Newt Gingrich campaign is gearing up to challenge the results of the Florida Republican presidential primary based on the Republican National Committee’s own rules which state that no contest can be winner-take-all prior to April 1, 2012.
It was assumed that Mitt Romney, who won Tuesday’s contest, would gain all 50 of the state’s delegates. But the Gingrich campaign plans to challenge Florida’s allocation and demand the delegates be divvied up proportionally.
Fox News has learned exclusively that on Thursday, a Florida Gingrich campaign official will begin the process of trying to have the RNC rules enforced so that the Sunshine State delegates are distributed based on the percentage of the vote each candidate got.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus warned Florida Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry of the violation in a December letter quoting the rule, “…’winner-take-all’ states cannot hold a primary or caucus before April 1, 2012.”
Tuesday night’s Romney victory in the Sunshine State awarded the former Massachusetts governor all 50 Florida delegates (the state was already docked half its delegates for moving the election up on the calendar). Romney won the primary with 46 percent to Gingrich’s 32 percent. Rick Santorum finished third with 13 percent and Ron Paul with 7 percent.
That would mean Romney would receive 23 delegates, Gingrich 16, Santorum 6.5, and Paul 3.5. (Where they are going to find a couple of .5 delegates, I have no idea.)
Finally, as the sun was fading into the Western sky, so was the lie that Romney is a Conservative. Mouth…meet second foot:
Mitt Romney said Wednesday that he supported tying the federal minimum wage to inflation, a move that would result in automatic increases to the pay rate. The position is a break from fiscal conservative orthodoxy — which generally seeks to eliminate the minimum wage — but could help Romney rebound from damaging comments he made earlier Wednesday when discussing the “very poor” in America.
“I haven’t changed my thoughts on that,” Romney told reporters aboard his campaign plane on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. He was apparently referring to a statement he made in 2002 when running for governor of Massachusetts, when he advocated an increase in the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation — a proposal President Obama touted in 2008 during his presidential run.
But in 2006 Romney vetoed an increase in Massachusetts’s minimum wage, arguing that a salary hike would cause a loss of jobs. The last federal increase, which passed in 2007, implemented gradual increases until 2009, when the minimum wage hit its current rate of $7.25 an hour.
Since then, Romney has made reference to an indexed minimum wage on the campaign trail, signaling that he still supported the idea on a federal level.
Newt Gingrich said last month that he was “surprised” that Romney held the position when asked about it during a New Hampshire town hall.
“I’m surprised because what it does is guarantees higher unemployment,” Gingrich said. When his questioner offered video of Romney supporting the inflation-based minimum wage, Gingrich joked he’d “like that a lot.”
What was Romney thinking? He had it made. All the formidable resources of the Republican Establishment were carrying his water in 50 gallon tubs.
The inimitable Mark Steyn fired off this missive directly after the day’s first gaffe of the day was announced:
Romney’s is a benevolent patrician’s view of society: The poor are incorrigible, but let’s add a couple more groats to their food stamps and housing vouchers, and they’ll stay quiet. Aside from the fact that that kind of thinking has led the western world to near terminal insolvency, for a candidate whose platitudinous balderdash of a stump speech purports to believe in the most Americanly American America that any American has ever Americanized over, it’s as dismal a vision of permanent trans-generational poverty as any Marxist community organizer with a cozy sinecure on the Acorn board would come up with.
After half-a-century of evidence, what sort of “conservative” offers the poor the Even Greater Society? I don’t know how “electable” Mitt is, but, even if he is, the greater danger, given the emptiness of his campaign to date, is that he’ll be elected with no real mandate for the course correction the Brokest Nation in History urgently needs. In last Monday’s debate, Newt said he wasn’t interested in going to Washington to “manage the decline”. Mitt’s just told us that he’s happy to “manage the decline” for the poor – but who knows who else?
He answered Steyn’s question later yesterday. He wants to “manage” a benevolent nanny-state, as well.
“Conservative”, my hindquarters.