Mitt Romney is a competent politician and competent politicians usually know how to duck questions about topics they don’t want to talk about. They respond briefly and vaguely and then turn to something slightly related, but far less politically toxic. This is the pivot and it’s a skill every politician must have down pat. So why does Mitt Romney seem unable to skirt questions about a topic some say could undo his hopes to secure the GOP presidential nominee? Ben Smith catches this bit from an interview with the Union Leader in New Hampshire, a vital primary state:
In an interview at the Union Leader this morning, Mitt Romney said President Obama’s health care plan was an unconstitutional violation of the 10th Amendment.
Romney has been saying that a key difference between his Massachusetts health care reform and President Obama’s reform is that his was a state plan and Obama’s is a federal plan. In speeches in New Hampshire last night and this morning, he defended his plan (as he has before) by noting that the 10th Amendment reserves powers to the states that are not explicitly granted to the federal government. But he stopped short of stating that Obama’s plan violated the 10th amendment by taking powers that were reserved to the states.
In a scheduled interview this morning, I asked Romney if Obama’s individual mandate unconstitutional in ordering individuals to purchase a commodity.
“I’m not enough of a judge,” he said. “I think it’s unconstitutional on the 10th Amendment front.”
Mitt Romney is still falling into the nuance trap. This indicates he’s made a political calculation – better to say he hates Obamacare and risk being called a disingenuous flip-flopper than to ignore or even embrace Obamacare and risk being called something far worse.