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Mitt Romney hypocritical to criticize Obama?

Posted by Jesse Singal  February 11, 2011 03:40 PM

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mittbook.jpgMitt Romney, of all people, should probably think twice before accusing other politicians of inconsistency.

But earlier today, during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in which he attacked President Obama from just about every angle, Romney did just that. Obama, he said, is deceiving voters by trying his hardest to paper over his left-wing agenda.

Referring to Obama's State of the Union address, Romney said:

What we were hearing was not just a new and improved Barack Obama; it was an entirely different Barack Obama.

Saul Alinsky was out; Jeffrey Immelt was in.

The President went from "Change you can believe in" to "Can you believe this change?"

He sounded like he was going to dig up the First Lady's organic garden to put in a Bob's Big Boy.

But as the speech went on, it was clear that this was just the appearance of change: His answer for Americans out of work was more government spending and $50 billion for high speed rail.

He replaced his Chicago politician chief of staff with a fresh face from Chicago, named Daley.

Make no mistake: What we are watching is not Brave New World; what we're watching is Groundhog Day!

It's pretty rich for Romney to accuse Obama of this sort of prevarication — especially now, as the newly released paperback edition of Romney's book, "No Apology," which came out earlier this month, yet again rewrites several of Romney's own signature policy positions. As the Boston Phoenix reports:

The first rewrite excises a relatively even-handed assessment of the 2009 economic-stimulus package. In the original, Romney wrote that it "will accelerate the timing of the start of the recovery, but not as much as it could have." The paperback pronounces the stimulus "a failure," and blasts Obama's "economic missteps" with conservative red-meat language — for example: "This is the first time government has declared war on free enterprise."

The other major change comes in a chapter on health care. In the original hardcover, Romney tried to carefully distinguish between the Massachusetts law and the national version that was nearing passage as he wrote.

But the Massachusetts model has become Romney's bête noire among conservatives, who loathe the national reform they call "Obamacare." The rewritten paperback swings much harder, proclaiming that "Obamacare will not work and should be repealed," and "Obamacare is an unconstitutional federal incursion into the rights of states."

Romney seems to still think that he can be president, and that in the age of the Tea Party getting through the GOP primary will require a hard tack to the right. And one of the best ways to prove one's conservative bona fides in 2011 is to accuse Obama of being a thinly veiled radical leftist. But Romney faces trouble in this department, as it will be very hard for him to criticize Obama for being two-faced without opening himself up to charges of hypocrisy.

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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