Bloggers, pundits and others in the chattering class have referred to Mitt Romney’s op-ed in USA Today as evidence that the former Massachusetts governor is staking out a tea-party-friendly, anti-tax-deal stand.
On his own website, the presumed contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination recycles the USA Today column under the straight-forward headline, “Why Tax Cut is a Bad Deal.”
“Given the unambiguous message that the American people sent to Washington in November, it is difficult to understand how our political leaders could have reached such a disappointing agreement,” Romney writes.
But just two paragraphs later, Romney seems to soften his criticism of the deal, which would delay the expiration of tax cuts for two years:
“Of course, delay now is better than an immediate tax hike,” he writes.
Later, he notes that the deal delivers “short-term economic stimulus” at the exact moment President Obama needs it most, before the 2012 election.
The op-ed has been characterized as an attempt by Romney to outflank potential opponents like Sarah Palin among deficit hawks, but the wording of the piece seems to leave plenty of wiggle room.
Read the piece here.