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Imagine my surprise to find that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was circulating a petition to ban earmarks. He is calling on the public to support Senator Jim DeMint:

Senator DeMint is courageously standing on conviction with his much-needed proposal to ban earmarks, which will curb wasteful spending and restore accountability to the way Congress spends taxpayer dollars. We all need to recognize that Washington can’t responsibly begin to address out-of-control debt and deficits until the practice of cramming earmarks into spending bills is stopped.

But in 2006, when the Federal debt and deficit were at an all time high, Mitt Romney had a very different view of earmarks:

Governor MITT ROMNEY (Governor of Massachusetts): I'd be embarrassed if I didn't always ask for federal money whenever I get a chance. I didn't have a figure for them but they knew I'd be coming if the opportunity arises.

Got that? He'd be embarrassed if he didn't ask for federal money. This wasn't money for a tax cut, but for Boston's famed Big Dig. In fact, anti-earmark true believer Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) had this to say in response to Romney's earmark request:

When Governor Mitt Romney vowed last month to "ask for federal money" to help with the state's $20 million Big Dig safety review, the statement drew a harsh and swift response from lawmakers who are tired of sending Massachusetts money for a project that state officials seem to have failed to oversee properly.

"Another special appropriation for it? No," said Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican and a leading critic of government waste.

But the number one earmarker in Congress, Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), was very supportive of the Romney earmark request:

"I'll be looking to Governor Romney about his thoughts about what the federal role and responsibility should be," said Cochran, a Mississippi Republican. "He has a lot of influence here in Washington, so his being where he is now with his new authorities, he could make the difference I think."

So, we have Tea Party suckup Romney fighting against earmarks. But Massachusetts establishment Romney went running to the federal government hat-in-hand for a huge over-budget project that Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) called a "disaster."

Mitt Romney. Never met an issue he wasn't on both sides of.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Nov 22, 2010 at 06:16 AM PST.

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