Oops, Did I Hurt Romney Again?

As you may know, a couple of weeks before the 2008 Iowa caucuses I broke a story refuting Mitt Romney's claim that his father had marched with Martin Luther King Jr. That story ended up getting huge national attention, and perhaps hurt Romney in his quest for the nomination.

My current feature about Mitt Romney, suggesting that he is re-launching himself as a slightly different candidate for 2012, has also gotten a fair amount of national attention. And, while I don't think my piece is particularly critical of Romney, it has been used by some, understandably, as more evidence that Romney is somewhat less than authentic. Very understanable; as I wrote:

Romney's previous reinventions — as a fairly liberal US Senate candidate, a moderate gubernatorial candidate, and then as a conservative presidential candidate — have already strained his credibility beyond the breaking point. Any further change — even to become the real, authentic Romney — will be viewed with suspicion, if not derision.
I also reviewed Romney's new book (which I was fortunate enough to get an advance proof of), in an accompanying web-only article. Again, I don't think the review was particularly harsh -- but I did point out that Romney says some things in the book that will be seen as heretical to today's movement conservatives.
I didn't label those as flip-flops. But this afternoon, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) did; it put out a release headlined "Romney flip-flops... again." The release, which strikes me as kind of silly -- but hey, that's politics! -- says that Romney has changed positions on TARP, stimulus, climate change, and Social Security privatization, all based on my review. (And hey, Campaign Outsider, the DNC didn't mention my name either!)
And now, thanks to that DNC push, I notice that the Salt Lake Tribune has written about Democrats saying that Mitt flip-flops in his book. Our old friend and Romney sidekick Eric Fehrnstrom tells SLT that the Democrats are taking the quotes out of context. I'd say he's somewhat correct about that; the quotes are in context for what I was writing, but not necessarily for the very different point the DNC is trying to use them for. However, Romney and Fehrnstrom have done plenty of out-of-context criticizing of others in their day, so I can't feel too sorry for them.
Fehrnstrom also pops up in a Weekly Standard item that tries to refute my suggestion that Romney may be essentially giving up on the South this time around. (The Standard does use my name, however; why do the ones that dislike the article remember to use my name?) As one piece of evidence, I pointed to Mitt skipping the upcoming Southern Republican Leadership Conference in April. Here's Fehrnstrom's push-back for the Standard:
"The reason Mitt Romney is not attending the SRLC is because of conflicts with his book tour," says Eric Fehrnstrom. "The book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, comes out March 2 and he's on the road promoting it the entire month of March and half of April. During the SRLC, he'll be in Philadelphia (World Affairs Council speech), New Hampshire (St. Anselm's Institute of Politics speech and remarks to Politics and Eggs breakfast), Boston (Ford Hall Forum speech) and Minneapolis (book signing, Freedom Foundation speech)."
That's good enough for the Standard writer to conclude that Romney is aggressively pursuing the South, but if you ask me it's a confirmation of what I was saying: Romney is choosing to be in northern blue states -- Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Minnesota -- rather than at a gathering of pretty much every influential Southern Republican Party insider, where every other potential 2012 GOP Presidential candidate will be speaking.
Romney will also be hitting California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Utah, Washington state, Washington DC, and Toronto that I know of on his two-month book tour, along with three Southern stops I know of: in Florida, Tennessee, and Texas.
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