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To make winning argument on health care,
Romney needs focus on replacing Obamacare–as well as on repeal

A number of conservatives, including yours truly, have been wary about backing Mitt Romney because of the health care reforms he signed as Governor of Massachusetts, i.e., Romneycare.  And although he has repeatedly (and explicitly) said that if elected, he would repeal Obamacare, some on the right remain unconvinced.

His campaign has even touted his commitment to repeal as this telling image from the Los Angeles Times indicates:

Note the shadow of the candidate on the sign, hence, the use of the adjective “telling” above to describe the image. Take a look at the sign the campaign produced; it doesn’t just include repeal, it also promise to “replace”.  And focusing on that replacement is key for Romney to turn popular opposition to the president’s health care overhaul to his advantage — even if the Supreme Court overturns the president’s signature initiative.

Topping Jennifer Rubin’s list of the 10 things Romney “needs to do . . .in order to position himself for the final sprint to November” is developing . . .

. . . a health-care plan to replace Obamacare. Whatever the Supreme Court does, Romney should be the one with a constitutional, free-market-based health-care plan. Then he can put the spotlight on President Obama: Is he going to use the post-election “flexibility” to implement a single-payer plan?

Such a plan would help him better appeal to conservatives, showing that he advocates conservative reforms.  And it would help him appeal to independent voters as well who, even before the passage of Obamacare, believed our health care system needed reform, ifnot the overhaul Democrats favored.

Here, Rubin considers some of the ideas conservatives have been considering.  Romney will improve his standing with conservatives as well as with wavering independents if he spells out the kind of reforms he favors to replace Obamacare.

Santorum calls Romney . . .

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:28 pm - April 10, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

to say he is ending his presidential campaign, Yahoo News has learned.

Santorum is scheduled to make an announcement at a press conference in Gettysburg, Pa., at 2 p.m. ET.” (Via Drudge.)

UPDATE:  Calling Santorum’s concession speech “lovely” and “gracious”, Ed Morrissey blogged that the former Senator “made Mitt Romney work for the nomination“.  He did do that.  By becoming the voice of rank-and-file conservatives, longing for a clear expression of conservative principles, he did help the now-presumptive Republican nominee articulate a message in tune with the small government/pro-free enterprise ideals which have animated the GOP for, at least, the last 32 years.

UP-UPDATE: Jennifer Rubin offers a good post-mortem on the Santorum campaign, noting both the former Senator’s strengths as well as his weaknesses. “That”, she blogs, “he never mentioned Mitt Romney by name or offered congratulations is, well, sadly reflective of a smallness that he revealed from time to time.”

She added:

As is his habit, he spoke without notes and for too long, but this, after all, was his swan song. He talked about Iowa and his family values pitch and sweater vests and manufacturing. But he was not bitter nor angry, and that’s important for his future, if he has one in the party. Despite his sometimes vicious attacks on Mitt Romney, he insisted he ran a positive campaign. Better to recall the positive.

. . . .

Why didn’t he win it? (more…)

Troubling Numbers for Obama in Poll Skewed Toward Democrats

Democrats are surely focusing on the headline numbers in the latest Washington Post/ABCNews poll, showing the president 8 points ahead of Mitt Romney, his likely Republican opponent this fall and with approval at 50%.

Now, to be sure, those numbers do look pretty good for the incumbent, but looking more deeply into the poll, particularly at its internals, a number of bloggers have teased out details which should undermine the recent overconfidence of the Obama campaign. Over at the Washington Examiner, Charlie Spiering has found three numbers which should cause heartburn at the White House, particularly given numbers which his colleague Conn Carroll and HotAIr’s Ed Morrissey highlight. Spiering notes that Romney leads Obama on the economy, deficit and energy by 47-43, 51-38 and 47-42 respectively.

Putting the Post poll in context, Carroll reports that it oversamples Democrats, “34 percent of those polled identified themselves as Democrats, 23 percent identified themselves as Republicans, and 34 percent identified themselves as Independents.” He goes on to compare that number to the “the turnout realities of the past four elections” and finds that even in the banner Democratic year of 2008, Democrats only enjoyed a 7-point advantage.

Image what Romney’s lead on those key issues which would like in a less skewed sample.

Surveyed the skewed  numbers and comparing it to the Post’s previous polls where Democrats only enjoyed a 4-point advantage (as opposed to 11 in the current survey), Ed Morrissey observes:

. . .  one should be seeing huge leads for Obama in the head-to-head matchups.  Instead, Obama lead Romney by only eight among general-population adults, 51/43, barely getting into majority territory, and Santorum by ten, 51/41.  Among registered voters, Obama leads Romney by seven, 51/44 — in both cases, smaller than the artificial sample advantage of the poll.  (more…)