Calls for Tougher Romney Are Misguided

Thursday, 09 Aug 2012 12:37 PM

By Ronald Kessler

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Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C. — Some conservatives are pushing for Mitt Romney to punch harder at President Obama. They forget that for all his failures as president, Obama is well liked. He is the celebrity president, cool and debonaire.

If Romney began attacking Obama in a more personal way, he would turn off many voters and undermine his own image as the experienced, competent, unflappable adult in the race. Moreover, it is not in Romney’s DNA to respond in a nasty or belligerent manner. As a Mormon, he does not swear. In keeping with the values of his religion, he is modest. And as a businessman, he is not given to the rhetorical excesses of most politicians.

romney-points.jpg
Some conservatives want Mitt Romney to get tougher on President OBama.
(Getty Images)
But Romney is no wimp, as Newsweek recently claimed. He is highly competitive. Before an interview I conducted with him recently in New York for an upcoming Newsmax magazine cover story on him and his wife Ann, he exulted about a new campaign ad with a clip of Hillary Clinton calling out Obama for perpetuating “falsehoods” during the 2008 Democratic primary campaign.

Romney’s aides are aggressive as well and respond immediately when they see an opening, as when Obama attributed the success of businessmen to roads and bridges. This week, they pounced when an Obama super PAC began running outrageous ads suggesting that Romney was responsible for the death of a woman with cancer because he supposedly shut down a steel plant where her husband had worked.

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“I don’t think Mitt Romney understands what he’s done to people’s lives by closing the plant,” Joe Soptic, a former employee at GST Steel in Kansas City, says in the ad. He says he lost his health insurance, and his family was not covered. A short time after, his wife became ill, he claims.

“I don’t know how long she was sick, and I think maybe she didn’t say anything because she knew that we couldn’t afford the insurance,” Soptic adds. When she finally went to the hospital, doctors found out that she had stage-four cancer, he says. She died soon after.

In fact, Romney had left Bain Capital, which owned the plant, two years before Bain closed it after years of losses. Soptic obtained another job and was covered by health insurance through the new job, but he chose not to pay for coverage for his wife. However, contrary to Soptic’s assertion, his wife was covered by health insurance through her employer. But she had left her job by the time she was diagnosed with cancer. She died 22 days after being diagnosed — five years after the plant had closed.

Romney aides and surrogates immediately pointed out that the ad was a fabrication and went on the offensive.

“If I were to coin a term, it would be ‘Obamaloney,” Romney said. “He’s serving up a dish which is simply in contradiction of the truth, and it relates to everything from how I’m going to help the middle class to tax policy. He’s just simply saying things that are not accurate.”

In this measured way, Romney addresses the issue at hand but does not try to besmirch Obama in a more personal way. Voters appreciate good character. Like Ronald Reagan, that is what Romney displays.

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times bestselling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. Read more reports from Ronald Kessler — Click Here Now.

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