Being a Frontrunner Means Lots Of Knives In Your Back
Mitt Romney is coming under some pretty intense fire these days, and not much of it is “friendly” anymore.
It started with Tim Pawlenty trying desperately to attack him on “Obamneycare,” a health care reform slur that the Minnesota Republican wasn’t confident enough to make to Romney’s face, but had no problem bringing up when he was doing media interviews.
But now everyone is jumping on board over Romney’s refusal to be “anti-abortion enough” to assuage the powers behind the Susan B. Anthony List, a group pledged to support “pro-life female candidates” but who instead seem to focus on any race that gives them some public attention. After Romney refused to sign onto a statement that basically declared that absolutely every move he would make as a president would be tied to either making abortions completely illegal and/or defunding Planned Parenthood, SBA openly attacked the Republican front runner for his lack of dedication to eradicating abortion, and has since had the other Republican contenders doing the same.
Via the Hill:
“It is distressing that Gov. Romney refuses to sign the SBA Pledge, even while claiming to be pro-life,” said Alice Stewart, a spokeswoman for Rep. Michele Bachmann‘s (R-Minn.) presidential campaign. “The excuses for not signing clearly continue the doubts about his leadership and commitment to ending the practice of abortion — particularly for a candidate who ran as pro-choice for the Senate and governorship of Massachusetts.”
“This past Monday night at the Republican presidential debate, I was asked about Gov. Romney’s pro-life conversion, and I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I apparently spoke too soon. It is incredibly disappointing that Gov. Romney chose not to defend those who cannot defend themselves,” said former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.). Even after Romney’s explanation, Santorum doubled down, suggesting that Romney’s answer was insufficient.
And even Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who might make a late entry into the campaign, sent a shot across the bow of the other candidates during a speech this weekend before conservative activists.
“It saddens me, sometimes, when my fellow Republicans duck and cover in the face of pressure from the left,” Perry said at the Republican Leadership Conference. “We need to redouble our efforts to elect more conservative Republicans.”
Even the normally mild mannered Ron Paul campaign jumped on board, with one adviser stating, “”Given Governor Romney’s past flip-flops on the Right to Life issue and his support for Obamacare-like individual mandates, this stance is very troubling. Right to Life conservatives must question Gov. Romney’s commitment to our cause.”
And it’s not just the other GOP contenders coming after Romney — legislative leaders are attacking, too. Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain both criticized Romney over his plans on Afghanistan, and Libya, with McCain even dropping the dreaded “What would Reagan do?” on the former governor.
So how do you stop getting hit when you are the frontrunner and have a giant target on your back. Apparently, the key is to run so far ahead that you leave everyone else too far behind to even hit you. The question is, can Romney get that far?