Mitt Romney brought the tea party to its feet Monday with an attack on President Obama right out of the movement’s playbook. On the day the Senate killed Obama’s Buffett Rule plan to raise taxes on people who make more than $1 million/year in income, Romney accused the president of presiding over a kind of economic civil war that pits rich against poor.
Romney promised to be the peacemaker.
“I will not do as this president is doing, dividing us at every occasion, attacking one American after the other,” Romney told a tea party crowd in Philadelphia. “Trying to one scapegoat, trying to find someone who by virtue of attacking them can divert from his failures economically. I will bring America together because I do believe that we are one nation under god.”
The line drew huge cheers from the assembled crowd. Tea partiers have warned for years that Obama is some kind Marxist revolutionary with a plan to convince the poor to blame their problems on the richest. The idea has picked up mainstream Republican support more recently, with establishment favorite Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) using a virtually identical line to Romney’s in his January response to Obama’s State of the Union.
“No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others,” Daniels said in January. “As in previous moments of national danger, we Americans are all in the same boat.”
Romney told the tea partiers the rich won’t have to worry about feeling guilty for their wealth while he’s in the White House.
“If I’m so fortunate to become president I will not apologize for success here at home,” Romney said to cheers, adding a domestic version to his classic “No Apology” line which he delivered right after: “And I will certainly not apologize for America’s success abroad,” he said.
The crowd really loved this, suggesting Monday’s poll showing 90% of Republicans now standing with Romney despite the divisive primary that exposed the conservative base’s deep ambivalence toward him.
But taking such a hard line against Obama’s fairness rhetoric behind the Buffett Rule — Romney dismissed the policy “not exactly a grand idea” in his speech — the likely GOP nominee risks alienating a large portion of the electorate. A Monday CNN poll found the Buffett Rule enjoyed 72% support, including big majorities among Democrats and independents and even a slim majority among Republicans.