Your friendly neighborhood campaign correspondent, yesterday:
For as much as President Bush’s policy differences with his base (especially on immigration and spending) have hurt him, I would suspect what is truly driving conservatives batty is what is now incontrovertible evidence that Bush is a poor manager.
Mitt Romney, later that day:
Amid a tour of southern New Hampshire, Romney contrasted the private-based universal health care system he created as governor in Massachusetts with government health expansions advocated by some Democrats, saying to laughter, “The last thing I want is the guys managing the Katrina cleanup managing my health care system.”
He also said one of President Bush’s signature domestic security achievements _ the formation of the Department of Homeland Security _ created “one big bureaucracy” rife with inefficiency and in need of major restructuring…
During a stop at a country market in Amherst, Romney reprised his “Katrina-health care” line, prompting one woman in the crowd to note his fellow Republicans had managed the federal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Romney complained about “insufficient management and oversight” of the recovery effort, and said he would have appointed a “czar” to oversee the $70 billion in federal spending since then. He also appeared to take a poke at the Democrats who led New Orleans and Louisiana at the time of the disaster.
Noting his fellow Republican, Gov. Haley Barbour, led Mississippi, Romney said recovery efforts he recently witnessed in Pascagoula were being “very effectively managed.”
By contrast, he said, “was also in New Orleans and I was disappointed in the degree of progress there. And I wonder why: Is it the mayor? Is it the governor? Is it FEMA? Is it the federal guys? I don’t know where the problem lies, but $70 billion is an awful lot of money, and I’d hope to have seen a lot more progress.”
Nonetheless, Romney pledged continued federal support for the Gulf Coast recovery should he be elected president.
If Mitt Romney gets the Republican nomination, there’s no way he’ll let the Democrats tar him with this administration’s blunders and failures in managment.