Using a shuttered Allentown, Pa. factory as a backdrop, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will blast President Barack Obama’s economic policy and his failed stimulus plan in particular by highlighting the very factory Obama toured and boasted about in 2009 to highlight Obama’s stimulus program.
Romney’s appearance in Pennsylvania and denunciation of Obama’s stimulus program, though, may again cause potential GOP primary voters to question what may turn out to be Romney’s biggest liability — his inauthenticity.
During the 2008 primary cycle, Romney was accused of conveniently changing his positions on issues such as abortion and gun rights.
His critics may accuse him of flip-flopping again on the stimulus program.
In the hard cover edition of his book, No Apology: The Case For American Greatness, Romney wrote that the “’all-Democrat’ stimulus that passed in early 2009 will accelerate the timing of the start of the recovery.”
Yet, as reporter Thomas Burr, of The Salt Lake Tribune, noted, the subsequent paperback version of Romney’s book was edited to say that “the ‘all-Democrat’ stimulus passed in early 2009 has been a failure.”
The edits most likely were made because of the ferocity with which the GOP and its conservative base opposed Obama’s stimulus.
Earlier this year, the fiscally conservative Club for Growth, in its assessment of Romney’s record on fiscal issues, referred to Romney’s comments in his hardcover book and said those comments would suggest that “Romney, on some level, supports discredited Keynesian economics.”
Further, in an appearance on Fox News in January of 2009, Romney himself said that it was “important for us to have a stimulus plan, and to have a series of legislative initiatives passed to help get this economy going again.”
This isn’t the first gaffe that the Romney campaign has had to deal with regarding his publicized views.
Earlier this year, Romney’s camp had to correct a misstatement in an op-ed Romney penned in New Hampshire’s Union Leader newspaper in which Romney claimed that Obama has engaged in one of the “biggest peacetime spending binges in American history.”
Of course, with the United States involved in numerous conflicts, that comment was inaccurate, and Romney’s camp later said that he meant to write “since World War II.”
Questions about Romney’s authenticity have consistently dogged him since he stepped onto the national stage. It is an image that the Romney campaign will have to aggressively combat going forward if he is to secure the Republican nomination and have a fighting chance in a potential general election matchup against Obama.