Romney is in Ohio today, and as part of his visit, he stopped by a call center where dedicated conservatives are making phone calls to get out the vote in support of Issue 2 and Issue 3. When asked by reporters if he supported the ballot initiatives, Romney punted.
"I am not speaking about the particular ballot issues," said Romney. "Those are up to the people of Ohio. But I certainly support the efforts of the governor to reign in the scale of government. I am not terribly familiar with the two ballot initiatives. But I am certainly supportive of the Republican Party's efforts here."Mitt missed a huge opportunity to appeal to GOP primary voters by standing with them in supporting reasonable government union reform.
National conservatives are jumping all over it. From Erick Erickson at Redstate:
Mitt Romney refused to endorse John Kasich’s reforms in Ohio. This is a huge freaking deal.And check out these tweets by Tabitha Hale and Michelle Malkin.
Playing it too safe is finally biting Romney in the rear end. He’s refused to call social security a ponzi scheme. He’s refused to offer bold economic reform plans. He’s refused to address significant changes in entitlement reforms. His whole campaign has centered around tapioca.
This opens the door for one or more of Mitt Romney's rivals. Candidates like Newt Gingrich or Rick Perry might want to think about packing their bags and heading straight to Ohio. Standing behind reasonable efforts to help struggling cities and schools control their costs could give their campaigns a much-needed shot in the arm with the conservative voters that vote in primaries.
UPDATE: Good Lord. Romney supported Issue 2 back in June?
"My friends in Ohio are fighting to defend crucial reforms that the state has put in place to limit the power of union bosses and keep taxes low," Romney wrote on his Facebook page in June. "I stand with John R. Kasich and Ohio's leaders as they take on this important fight to get control of government spending. Please visit www.BetterOhio.org for more information."Sheesh. Paging Herman Cain...Rick Perry...Newt?
UPDATE (4:55 PM): Somebody just picked up the courtesy phone.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry took sides Tuesday in the ongoing battle over organized labor in Ohio, coming down forcefully on the side of Republicans who want to drastically limit the collective bargaining ability of public sector unions.
"As a true conservative, I stand with Gov. Kasich in promoting S.B.5 for fiscal responsibility and job creation in Ohio," Perry said in a statement to CNN. "Gov. Kasich and the Republican leadership of Ohio are to be commended for their efforts."
Added Perry, "My record as a pro-jobs governor is clear and you don't have to wonder where I stand."