Romney spokesman on steelworker ad: In Massachusetts, he would have been covered under RomneyCare

Via Mediaite, the key bit comes at 1:25. Are we sufficiently close to the election yet that we’re obliged to give Team Mitt a pass on this purely in the interest of defeating Obama, or is there still time left to wrist-slap him for touting a deeply problematic statist health-care expansion? (It’s not just his spokesman who alluded to RomneyCare this morning but, according to Reuters, Romney himself.) If the answer is the former then I’m not optimistic about holding his feet to the fire from the right once he’s elected. The Democrats have formidable challengers lined up for 2016 in Hillary and Andrew Cuomo, if they’re willing. You don’t really want to weaken President Mitt by criticizing him for moving to the center when he’s facing a brutal struggle for reelection, do you?

It’s not a big deal in the full context of the campaign but, like Erick Erickson says, any hint of backsliding by Romney is noteworthy:

[T]he Romney campaign decided to sabotage itself with a mind numbingly bit of spin that may mark the day the Romney campaign died…

Conservatives have put aside their distrust of Romney on this issue in the name of beating Barack Obama. They thought he and his campaign team had gotten the message and the hints. Consider the scab picked, the wound opened, and the distrust trickling out again.

About the only thing more stupid in terms of building bridges with the right would be to say something nice about fetal stem cell research.

Start your watches for that one!

If I were an Obama advisor, I’d be looking at Saul’s comment as an escape hatch from the rolling clusterfark that is the steelworker ad. It’s a twofer. On the one hand, it lets them grind Romney’s face in the one policy “accomplishment” more than any other that irritates his base, and on the other, it gives them an excuse to tout ObamaCare as a solution to situations like Soptic’s. I’d be surprised if O’s Super PAC isn’t working up a new ad about it already, assuming they’re not backlogged with spots accusing Romney of causing cancer or whatever.

Exit quotation from stalwart RomneyCare skeptic Philip Klein, trying to imagine future Romney talking points in this vein: “Well, in Massachusetts, the rich pay a lot of taxes.”

Update: More from Klein:

It’s hard to say what type of political ramifications this specific development will have, but I do think it’s an example of a broader problem. Romney consistently attempts to make up with tactics what he lacks in vision. Romney’s campaign isn’t driven by any core ideology or governing philosophy, but by responding to news cycles. It is a campaign that was perhaps best summed up by senior advisor Eric Fehrnstrom, when he proudly tweeted yesterday, “On Fox just now Romney was asked to respond to ‘RomneyHood’ charge and called it ‘Obamaloney.’” Conservatives, rest assured – Romney will not allow himself to be called a childish nickname without responding by calling Obama a childish nickname.