Monday, March 9, 2009

Insider: Romney flops at Club for Growth meeting

Last weekend, The Club for Growth hosted three potential 2012 candidates: Mark Sanford, Mitt Romney, and Jim DeMint.

Ken Silverstein says both Sanford and DeMint held their own on the platform.

Mitt Romney? Not so much.

Mitt asked for questions. The first was from a man from New York who read from his handheld several lines from a Wall Street Journal editorial that was very critical of “Romney Care” in Massachusetts.

He ended his questioning of Romney with this line:

“How do you respond to the Wall Street Journal’s article given all you’ve been telling us about your belief in free markets? How can we believe you when what you did in Massachusetts was expensive government mandate regarding health care?”

Many in the room erupted in applause. A visibly agitated Romney defensively began his reply with the following:

“We can disagree without you taking potshots like you did at the end of your question there. That’s the Wall Street Journal’s opinion… I have my opinions too."

.... After defending his program by blaming changes on the Democratic Massachusetts legislature, Mitt asked for a second question in the very quiet room.

A member from Texas said something along the lines of, “The name of our group is Club for Growth and we think of growth meaning growth in individual liberty. So, how does the fact that your program requires individuals to get government-mandated health insurance fit with our goal of liberty for individuals?”

This led to more and louder applause from the crowd. Mitt then attempted to answer the question while demanding that the questioner “not leave the room” and “don’t turn away from me.”

During the '08 primary, one of Mitt Romney's most unattractive qualities was his tendency to resort to petulant, churlish sniping in debates. It seemed paradoxical -- this regal, articulate statesmen responding to junior high taunts with "well, he started it first!"

There's something even more troubling than the aesthetics of it. Thin skin is rarely protective of a President. It means he's bound to polls and the whims of his constituents.

Does that sound like Mitt Romney?