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Most of the Village thought Romney had a pretty easy time at the CNN debate because none of the other candidates would attack Mittens for his years of flip flopping positions.
No one attacked Romney. Surprisingly, Mitt Romney’s position as putative GOP front runner was not directly attacked or challenged by anyone. CNN’s moderator John King tried to goad Pawlenty into explaining why he characterized the Obama healthcare law as “Obamaneycare” and Pawlenty was not eager to take the bait. There were also no direct attacks on Romney’s abortion record. Perhaps the candidates think its too early to go negative.
It's too early for the game show candidates to go on the offensive this early in the game. However, the niceties of these early stages do not extend to the rest of the GOP players.
They really dislike Romney as much as we do. Goober Graham is in a huff over Mittens position on the Afghanistan war and called him Jimmy Carter, which is a slur in Republicanese..
A leading Republican voice on national security said Tuesday that presidential contender Mitt Romney risks looking like Jimmy Carter if he doesn’t take a stronger stance on Afghanistan.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), who supported Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) against Romney in the 2008 presidential primary, leveled one of his party’s most stinging insults at the 2012 front-runner in response to Romney’s statements in Monday’s New Hampshire debate. He directly challenged Romney’s suggestion that the conflict in Afghanistan was a war of independence, and added: “From the party’s point of view, the biggest disaster would be to let Barack Obama become Ronald Reagan and our people become Jimmy Carter.”
Graham was not alone in his skepticism about Romney. Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.), a senior Republican member of the Armed Services Committee, also voiced dismay with the former Massachusetts governor’s characterization of the Afghan war.
In the debate, Romney said he believes the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan should be based on security conditions there instead of political or fiscal considerations. But he also appeared to undercut the rationale for U.S. involvement by suggesting that American troops are fighting a war for Afghan independence against Taliban influence.
Romney said: “Our troops shouldn’t go off and try to fight a war of independence for another nation. Only the Afghanis can win Afghanistan’s independence from the Taliban.”
Graham retorted on Tuesday, saying this is not a war of independence, this is a war to protect America’s national vital security interests.”
Predictably the Neocons are up in arms over this because they need war to survive. Mitt Romney's Afghanistan remark stuns GOP pals
Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said her inbox was flooded Tuesday morning with emails calling Romney’s comments a “disaster.”
“I’d thought of Romney as a mainstream Republican – supporting American strength and American leadership, but this doesn’t reflect that,” she said. “Romney has proven himself a little bit of a weathervane and I guess he senses that positioning himself in this place is good for his campaign — attempting to appease Ron Paul’s constituents without actually being Ron Paul.”
“You can’t really triangulate on these issues. Either you think we’re fighting a war we need to win or you think we ought to bring all the troops home, but he said it all there,” Pletka said.
Other Republicans did not want to be quoted out of party loyalty and fear of the front runner.
Many other Conservative groups are lining up against Romney in a big way.
For several conservative organizations, antagonism toward Romney runs so deep that they are actually gearing up to wage campaigns against him.
Probably the most prominent group targeting Romney is FreedomWorks, the Dick Armey-led conservative organization. The group has been increasingly vocal about its opposition to the former governor of Massachusetts. “Romney has a record and we don’t really like it that much,” Adam Brandon, FreedomWorks’ communications director, recently told The Huffington Post. Now the group is threatening to unleash part of its $25 million treasure trove in an attempt to sink his candidacy.
Working parallel to Steinhauser and FreedomWorks is Alaskan Joe Miller, the Tea Party favorite who won his state’s Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2010 before losing to Lisa Murkowski in the general election. Miller has taken it upon himself to launch a new “Stop Romney” campaign that’s hoping to raise and spend as much as $500,000 on television and radio ads attacking Romney as an unscrupulous opportunist—all of which will be funneled into his most critical early primary state. “We’re going to put all our focus on New Hampshire,” says Bryan Shroyer, executive director of Miller’s Western Representation PAC, which has over 250,000 supporters and spent heavily to back conservatives in 2010. “
Finally, social conservatives are rejuvenating their battle against Romney. Last time around, the religious group American Right To Life ran ads in key primary states decrying Romney’s pro-life conversion as a “fairy tale.” This cycle, the group intends to run ads in Iowa and South Carolina in a self-proclaimed effort to “decimate” Romney’s campaign early on. “We plan to repeat our strategy that worked in 2008, which was to blanket those states with TV ads letting the conservative Christian base know that Mitt Romney supports the killing of unborn children,” American Right To Life spokesman Bob Enyart told me.
Romney has Dick Armey, psycho-like Joe Miller and the Religious Right out to dirty him up. Most Liberals want out of Afghanistan and so did Romney. Now he's changing his tune to calm the waters, but the attacks will continue to go on against him. I've said since 2008 that Romney was the natural GOP choice in 2012, but he's going to be roughed up by his own people for a long, long time.