Former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift has a column in the Union Leader assailing her successor Mitt Romney (she, like the newspaper publishing her, is for John McCain). Swift makes the familiar arguments against Romney, from flip-flops to the fee hikes that look suspiciously like tax increases, which are valid criticisms and potential dealbreakers.
But, as a Massachusetts resident at the time, I found this bit funny: “As acting governor of Massachusetts in 2002, I ended my own campaign for the Republican nomination to give Romney the best opportunity to beat the Democratic candidate that November.”
Please. Swift became very unpopular after succeeding Paul Cellucci as governor. Massachusetts’ “long, successful string of GOP governors” would have almost surely been broken if Swift had been the Republican nominee in 2002. State party activists went to Utah to draft Romney to run, fearing that the governorship was at stake. Polls showed Swift losing to every Democratic gubernatorial candidate while Romney was beating all of them in head-to-head matchups.
Swift didn’t immediately stand down. As rumors of Romney’s entry swirled, she picked a running mate and campaigned. The day Swift dropped out, Bill Weld and Ed Brooke were preparing to endorse her. What may have persuaded her to give up: A Boston Herald poll about three days earlier showing Romney beating Swift in a Republican primary 75 percent to 12 percent. Among those who “definitely” planned to vote in the GOP primary, it was 80-11.
This might have something to do with why Swift isn’t a Romney fan. Of course, there are certainly good reasons for Massachusetts Republicans to be miffed at Mitt.
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