Obamacare versus Romneycare. Governor Romney has said that he will repeal Obamacare if elected (a not-so-easy promise to keep, mind you). In the video below, he fumbled through the attack from Rick Santorum and his answers sounded evasive. He was visibly frustrated.
This comes against Santorum who is known for passion but not necessarily for strength at debating. When the same question comes up from Obama and his team, Romney will be dead in the water. Obama will have Romney either back-peddling on his claim of repeal, back-peddling on his own track record in Massachusetts, or avoiding the issue altogether.
"What Governor Romney just said is that government-run, top-down medicine is working pretty well in Massachusetts and he supports it," Santorum said while Romney first displayed signs of dismay.
"Now think about what that means going up against Barack Obama who you're going to claim, 'Well, top-down government on the federal level doesn't work and we should appeal it," and he's going to say, "Wait a minute, Governor. You just said that top-down, government-run medicine in Massachusetts works well.'"
Bingo. The only difference is that Obama will have the questions and statements about Romneycare embedded on his well-trained, properly-coached debate tongue rather than Santorum's passionate (albeit somewhat incoherent) rant.
In short, Obama and the media will pull this card out over and over again if Florida nominates Romney. The Democrats are well-aware that a victory in Florida all but locks up the nomination. There will be more debates, more fighting, more negative ads, but it will be the launching point for the Obama team to start safely focusing their efforts on Romney. Gingrich will suddenly be on their side, not by choice but because he, Santorum, and Ron Paul will continue to attack Romney in hopes of a miracle while Obama's team will strategically help their cause knowing that Romney is the target.
Santorum finished with a point that punctuates the last hope Republicans have of pulling votes from moderate middle-class people who wants jobs, change, and security. "Folks, we can't give this issue away in this election. It is about fundamental freedom, whether the United States government or even a state government."
Romney's rebuttal was clever, but defensive. It wouldn't work on Obama. Santorum continued to press but again did so in a sloppy, almost amateur way.
"In Massachusetts everybody is mandated as a condition of breathing to buy health insurance and if you don't, you have to pay a fine."
It was the following response by Romney that iced it for Obama. It should have iced it for Florida voters and it should have had conservatives steaming.
"First of all, it's not worth getting angry about," he said.
False. Incorrect. For conservatives and many moderates on both sides of the fence, Obamacare/Romneycare are absolutely worth getting angry about. It is the cornerstone that the Republican Establishment has been building upon for 4 years while plotting to make Obama a 1-term President. That they would now make the mistake of being "pragmatic" is a testament to how poor the field really is. If any of the candidates were strong and came with little baggage or controversy, the Republican Establishment would be jumping on board in a heartbeat. Instead, they are reluctantly backing another Dole/McCain moderate.
Floridians will be voting for Obama if they vote for Romney. When this issue is raised during debates with Obama, Romney will look like a fool. It's very possible that Obama will lock up a second-term this early based upon the actions of Florida. If Romney wins, the White House is Obama's.