Obama praises Mitt Romney, either being bipartisan or an asshole

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Mitt Romney

Earlier today, the Obama administration did something unusual — it praised the work of a Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. The interesting question is, were they just being nice, or passive-aggressively trying to ruin his campaign? Given the timing, and the issue at stake is universal healthcare, probably the latter. 

This morning, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said

"We have said before that health-care reform that then-Governor Romney signed into law in Massachusetts is in many ways similar to the legislation that resulted in the Affordable Care Act… Massachusetts took a smart approach towards health-care reform. Its provenance was so mainstream, there are great similarities between Massachusetts' law, the Affordable Care Act and legislation proposed by then-Rhode Island Republican [Senator] John Chaffee in 1993."

The Massachusetts' law went was passed by Mitt Romney when he was governor of the state. Yesterday, Mitt Romney made a national speech calling for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (stop calling it Obamacare!), which makes the secretary's statement look like a rebuttal, but a very tactical one.   

I can't help but be a little pleased when I see the Democrats taking the not-so-high road and playing the political game aggressively.  Not because I think it's actually good for the country, but because they've been so pummeled by the Republicans' adoption of same that it's nice to see a little payback. It's also telling that our political culture is so polarized that, for a Republican, a compliment from the President seems like a knockout punch.