Manufactured outrage du jour: "I don't even consider myself wealthy," says Ann Romney

A lefty blog seized on this and naturally it got picked up almost instantly by big media. Click the image and watch the clip. She’s talking about having MS and how money may come and go but the value of friends and family endures. Run that through the progressive soundbite distort-o-lyzer and you get “Ann Romney doesn’t think a quarter of a billion dollars qualifies as ‘wealthy.'” I wonder if the DNC will stoop to using it against her. No doubt, had Mitt said it there’d already be a rapid-response ad on YouTube and a very special episode of “Hardball” featuring Debbie Wasserman-Schultz droning about how much Romney hates the poor or whatever. The problem for Democrats in this case is that people really like Ann Romney. She’s far and away the most appealing person associated with the campaign and all the more sympathetic because of the subject matter here. If the DNC message team is slick and ruthless enough that they can reframe her as a callous plutocrat, we’re in deeper trouble than I thought.

If you want to complain to Team Romney about something, complain about this. 2006:

I hear a lot of people say they don’t like the aspect of your plan that makes it mandatory for people to purchase insurance. Would you say this is the primary complaint?

There are a lot of people in our state who have been getting health care for free. These aren’t necessarily the poor. We have a program for the poor: Medicaid. There are those making $30,000, $40,000 and $50,000 a year who have learned they can get health care absolutely free and that’s not fair to everybody else. There’s a lot of people who say, gosh, you shouldn’t require people to get health insurance, but the problem is they always have the option of getting free care even without health insurance, and so we’re saying “no more free ride.” We’re saying that you have to have insurance if you can afford it and if you can’t, we’ll help you buy a plan you can afford.

Will your health plan go national?

I think what we’ve crafted changes the national paradigm. It shows that you can insist on individual responsibility and market reforms to get everybody insured. Personal responsibility and market reform get the markets to work for all our citizens.

That’s Mitt once again touting RomneyCare as a national model, in case you weren’t sufficiently convinced by Friday’s post. In fact, BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski has three short clips of Romney circa 2009 talking about what the feds could learn from Massachusetts’s program. This isn’t complicated: His objection to O-Care all along wasn’t that it might have a mandate but that it might have a public option. In fact, he touted the mandate at the time as a secret weapon against the public option insofar as it’s a way to get everyone insured without getting government involved (or rather, further involved) in the health insurance business. The constitutional objection, oddly enough, seems to have occurred to him only recently, as his campaign for president geared up and he realized that being pro-mandate post-ObamaCare and post-tea-party might present problems with the base. So he flipped, and now he’s on the brink of a Super Tuesday showing that might all but cinch the nomination for him. We dump on him for his opportunism but it sure does work, huh?

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