Romney 'squandering an historic opportunity,' scathing editorial says
July 5th, 2012
10:18 AM ET
11 years ago

Romney 'squandering an historic opportunity,' scathing editorial says

(CNN) – An editorial in the Wall Street Journal fiercely criticized Mitt Romney Thursday, days after media titan Rupert Murdoch, who owns the paper, suggested the candidate replace his staff.

The editorial took particular aim at Team Romney's handling of the Supreme Court decision that upheld the health care reform law as a tax, and was therefore ruled constitutional.

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It starts off pointing to Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom for straying away from the party line earlier this week, when he called the health care fee a "penalty," rather than a tax.

"For conservative optimists who think Mr. Fehrnstrom misspoke or is merely dense, his tax absolution gift to Mr. Obama was confirmed by campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul, who tried the same lame jujitsu spin. In any event, Mr. Fehrnstrom is part of the Boston coterie who are closest to Mr. Romney, and he wouldn't say such a thing without the candidate's approval," stated the editorial board, which typically leans conservative.

Romney, who signed off on a similar health care law as former Massachusetts governor, attempted to clarify his own position in a CBS interview aired Wednesday. He said the penalty was in fact a tax, as ruled by the Supreme Court–unlike his Massachusetts law, which he said was a penalty.

"States can implement penalties and mandates and so forth under their constitutions, which is what Massachusetts did," he said. "But the federal government does not have those powers, and therefore for the Supreme Court to reach the conclusion it did – that the law was constitutional – they had to find it was a tax, and they did."

However, the Wall Street Journal said Romney "offered no elaboration" in his interview, and "the campaign looks confused in addition to being politically dumb."

The editorial argued the campaign's latest snafu was a sign of larger ineptitude within what they described as Romney's "insular" team. It insisted the candidate's hesitation to forcefully come out and call the penalty a tax sooner was "slowly squandering an historic opportunity."

"Mr. Obama is being hurt by an economic recovery that is weakening for the third time in three years. But Mr. Romney hasn't been able to take advantage, and if anything he is losing ground," the editorial read.

The article was published just days after Murdoch, followed by former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, took to Twitter to say President Barack Obama's team will be hard to beat unless Romney hired new team members.

Romney campaign spokeswoman Saul reacted to Murdoch's tweets Tuesday, writing: "Gov. Romney respects Rupert Murdoch and also respects his team and has confidence in them."

- CNN's Kevin Liptak and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Rupert Murdoch
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It would serve the Romney campaign well to shut Cain down, he's hurting them for his own personal and financial gain, he's a looser and a sore looser.

    July 5, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. Lisa P

    I wonder what "historic opportunity" the WSJ editorial board could be thinking of? Given Wall Street's record over the past decade or so I somehow doubt that a "historic opportunity" for Wall Street bodes well for the rest of us. Fortunately, dollars don't vote, yet. Here's hoping the humanists seize this "historic opportunity" to make the case for why they never should - $$$ are not speech, and corporations are not people. The Founders need to be heard for themselves, not through some self-serving anti-tax anti-citizen anti-American corporate/Tea Party muffle!

    July 5, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Those that don't learn from History are bound to repaet it. The Pilgrims came to the New World to escape from Big Government, not Re-Invent it. And for a while it worked. Then came the Do-Gooders and now Big Government is 10 times worse than it was 300 Years ago. People forgot Personal Responsibility and bought into Big Liberal Programs.

    If it isn't broke, don't fix it. The "Tea Party" sees the looming problem. That's why the Boston Tea Party happened.

    July 5, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. William Zimmerman

    @Dave Jobs have been lost under President Obama ? What year did you begin that assessment ?

    July 5, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. Cynthia L.

    Rupert owns the The Wall Street Journal, so it's just a repeat of what comes out of Rupert's mouth. His ideology is crammed down America's throats day-in-day-out through his holdings, The Washington Times, the New York Daily News, Wall Street Journal and Fox 'Entertainment' News.
    He is the number one scab on journalism's behind. Australia doesn't want him back, England can't stand him and we gave him citizenship – who's the loser – us. Maybe that was his plan all along.

    July 5, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. Fair is Fair


    What about the middle class such as myself that doesnt qualify for medicare, is healthy, can pay for own doctors visit once a year but cant afford medical insurance regardless of the price?
    Well, John... you get taxed.

    July 5, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. chill

    Flip .............. flop

    July 5, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. Anthony

    The individual mandate applies only to people who can afford health insurance but choose not to have one. People who cannot afford to buy insurance (those who are above the Medicaid level and up to 400% of the federal poverty level) get a subsidy to help them purchase insurance.

    July 5, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Bill from GA

    Actually, the republican party squandered an opportunity when they selected romney.

    Yet, with their vast propaganda machine, and limitless funds to fuel it (Thanx, SCOTUS), the repugs may still win the election and get one more chance to destroy America's middle class, and America's economy,

    July 5, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. Bill from GA

    And, BTW, it's not just romney that is so bad, they had NO worthy candidates running.
    Haven't in years.

    July 5, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. ghostriter

    Ok, so Mittsy agrees with the dissent on the AHA ruling.....but also agrees with the the majority that it is a tax. Hilarious.

    July 5, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
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