In the days leading up to the Missouri, Minnesota,and Colorado primary/caucus’, Mitt Romney sensed trouble brewing. As is their M.O., the Romney campaign launched an attack on Santorum on Monday for supporting congressionally directed spending projects, known as earmarks.
“Rick Santorum has been a champion of earmarks,” former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said on a call organized by the Romney campaign, referring to Mr. Santorum’s 16-year stint in both in the House and Senate.
The problem is Governor Romney, already known as a flip-flopper on various issues, was for earmarks before he was against them. Romney repeatedly cites his rescue of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic games as a qualification for the presidential nomination. What he fails to mention is that his recipe for Olympic success contained a then record level of federal earmarks. Romney worked with Utah’s congressional representatives, including moderate Senator Robert F. Bennett (ousted by Tea Party favorite Mike Lee in 2010), to secure huge earmarks for the 2002 games.
Senator John McCain, who is now endorsing Romney, was singing a different tune at that time.
“The American taxpayer is being shaken down to the tune of nearly a billion and a half dollars,” McCain said.
The Arizona Republican vowed to “do everything in my power” to delay or kill “this pork-barrel spending” and to end the “fiscal abuse” related to the Olympics. “This is preposterous and it must stop,” he said.
Given this his track record flip-flopping on issue after issue, and of lobbying for earmarks, the Romney campaign would be well advised to steer clear of the earmark issue.
Watch Senator McCain rail on the Romney Olympic earmarks on 9/19/2000Vodpod videos no longer available.