Mitt Feints to the Middle

Moderate Mitt reared his head on Monday afternoon to contradict his party. The Obama campaign was prepared to make this week all about House Republicans' refusal to extend lower interest rates on student loans, with Obama scheduled for campaign stops at college campuses Tuesday and Wednesday. But now they won't be able to paint Romney as the anti-student boogeyman. During his first media availability in more than a month, the presumptive Republican nominee called on Congress to extend the current interest rates. “Particularly with the number of college graduates that can’t find work or can only find work well beneath their skill level, I fully support the effort to extend the low interest rate on student loans,” he said

Egads! This seems exactly like the scenario conservatives have feared all year. Now safely in the general-election cocoon, might Romney wildly deviate from right-wing dogma and betray the promises he made in the primaries? Not so much. Student loans were never a major concern for conservatives, receiving scant attention during the Republican primary, which let Romney coast by without catering to base instincts. The furthest he ever went in the primary was stating: "My best advice is find a great institution of higher learning, find one that has the right price, and shop around," while recommending “serving the country” as a good way to offset some of the costs. In terms of Mitt Flops this one might not even crack the Top 25. When it comes to the issues near and dear to right-wingers, they have nothing to fear. Romney's emphatic statements on gay marriage, contraception, abortion, and taxes are all clearly aligned with far-right ideology. He'll duck toward the center on a few side issues, but etching away his past sketches won't be so easy on the issues that will drive the general election. 


So They Say

"I want to clean up the dirty water in which a lot of our kids are swimming. By that I'm not just talking about pollution, I'm talking about moral pollution. … I want to make sure that every computer that goes into a home in the future has a button there or a place for the citizen, the parent, to be able to block all that pornography from their kids' internet screen."

—Mitt Romney in a 2007 speech unearthed by Buzzfeed

Daily Meme: Communists are the New Socialists

  • Jon Huntsman likens the GOP to the Communist Party of China …
  • …then hastily tries to distance himself from the remarks.
  • Meanwhile, Allen West stands by his accusation that the Congressional Progressive Caucus is just a bunch of pinko commies.
  • A local NAACP chapter removes West as its keynote speaker as a result.
  • George Stephanopoulos accidentally calls Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan a communist.
  • The idea of communists in politics—at least in other countries—isn't just a Republican talking point. Communists are the largest bloc in the Left Front, whose candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon won 11 percent of the vote in France's presidential election yesterday….
  • … and you know how French those Democrats are.


What We're Writing

  • Harold Meyerson profiles the New York attorney general who’s inspiring fear in the banks.
  • Paul Waldman doesn't understand why Barack Obama is so silent on gun laws.

What We're Reading

  • Everyone focuses on Romneycare in Massachusetts, but it's his proposal for the nation that is truly radical.
  • Finally giving up on working with Congressional Republicans, Obama has turned to executive orders.
  • Ben Jacobs: The six underdogs for Romney's VP.
  • McKay Coppins: Ann Romney hates the media, but has accepted her place in front of the cameras.
  • Alec MacGillis: Brush your shoulders off Bob McDonnell, you get a little bit of Etch-A-Sketch on you.
  • Michael Calderone: Mitt Romney doesn't recognize how much the media loves him.
  • Ben Adler: Newt Gingrich built a real campaign in Delaware while you weren't watching.
  • NBC embed reporter Alex Moe looks back on the myriad "grandiose" proposals from Newt during the campaign.


Poll of the Day

Three percent. That's the scant few who still expressed a favorable view of former presidential contender John Edwards as his trial began Monday.


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