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Sunday Action
Thompson gets into it with Chris Wallace, seeming to blame Fox for his woes. Notably, he –as he has done in the past — seems to cast his hope in the Southern state primaries which may be realistic but not inspire confidence in a successful nationwide campaign.
Huckabee fights back –using the “A” word(authenticity) and the “C” word(consistency) to go after Romney.
But the real fireworks were Rudy ( h/t The Page) going on the offensive against Romney, sensing perhaps with the Tuttman controversy an opportunity to scrutinize Romney’s record. He is focusing on three issues: crime, economics and healthcare. On crime, his campaign is happy to go toe to toe with Romney on their respective records on fighting crime. In particular, they may go after Romney, given the recent news, on failure to ever enact mandatory post-release supervision for prisoners, an issue which Romney ran on in 2002 but never accomplished during his term despite efforts of Lt. Gov Kerry Healy. On the economy the two continue exchanging barbs with Rudy today invoking the CATO report card and Romney saying Rudy never balanced the budget.( Club for Growth gives the best run down in their White Papers if anyone is looking for some hard facts on who did what and how successfully they did it.) Perhaps the most interesting duel is on healthcare. Romney says he did something no other candidate did — achieve near universal healthcare without taxes. The danger here is conservatives won’t like the notion that a government mandate complete with fines is a “no tax” plan– it is in fact a government imposed cost on individuals and businesses, they will argue. (Michael Tanner from CATO has made the argument that once you buy into “universal coverage” rather than “universal access” you have ceded the argument to the liberals.) Rudy is making the tongue in cheek argument that Romney has “learned his lesson” and is now abandoning an individual mandate plan as he runs for president.
This is turning in one heck of a fight and Wednesday’s debate may reveal just how personal and just how aggressive the candidates are becoming.
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