Is Mitt Romney Dumb or Just Playing Dumb to Court the Conservative Base?

Mr. M down below has put up an excellent recap of last night’s Republican debate. In it, he notes Romney’s awkward dodge on an audience question about the apparent inconsistency of calling for English as the official language while putting out Spanish language campaign ads.

During a debate in which the candidates apparently planted cheering supporters, Romney’s dodge was so obvious it brought forth an uncomfortable silence.

In reviewing the transcript, Romney was even worse in his answer to a question as to whether the Iraq War was a mistake. He said:

Well, the question is, kind of, a non sequitur, if you will. What I mean by that — or a null set — that is that if you’re saying let’s turn back the clock and Saddam Hussein had opening up his country to IAEA inspectors and they’d come in and they’d found that there were no weapons of mass destruction, had Saddam Hussein therefore not violated United Nations resolutions, we wouldn’t be in the conflict we’re in. But he didn’t do those things, and we knew what we knew at the point we made the decision to get in.

Remember that Bush tried this spin a long time ago and his response was denounced as factually wrong throughout the liberal blogosphere. Did Mitt miss this episode? Worse, does he really not know that the inspectors went to Iraq, found nothing and then were ordered out by Bush?

Kevin Drum beat me to many of these points and adds:

Or does he know it perfectly well and has simply calculated that no one in the media cares enough about this stuff to make a big deal out of a howler like this? In any sane world, this kind of thing would be enough to disqualify a candidate from running for dogcatcher, let alone president of the United States.

But Kevin stops short. If Mitt’s being intentionally misleading its not just because the media won’t call him on it. It’s because he has something to gain. It’s because he is speaking to the conservative base – a lot of them whom both Bush & Romney likely believe have bought into this falsehood. A false impression the media has failed to adequately address.

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