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I find it incredibly amusing that the featured t-shirt on the front page of the Mitt Romney online store is simply a map of America with the word "Believe" ("mittromney.com" is in very fine print, easily missed, at the bottom hem of the shirt).

If you recall 2008, one of the principal anti-Obama talking points was that he was all "Hopey Changey," mocking his "Hope" and "Change" campaign slogans. So now in 2012, what does the Romney campaign do? Why, it puts out a shirt and posters and buttons and bumper stickers with a touchy-feely word that is practically a synonym for "Hope!"

Of course, much as he completely denies any similarities between Romneycare and Obamacare, you can bet that neither he nor his campaign will acknowledge that this is basically a wholesale ripoff of the Obama 2008 branding strategy.

As has been pointed out to me, despite the stark similarity in marketing concept, Obama's "Hope" and "Change" do have a different connotation than Romney's "Believe," especially when used, as it is on some Romney items, as "Believe in America" (and also, "Believe in Amercia").

"Hope" and "Change" imply looking forward, seeking a leader to make things better tomorrow than they are today. "Believe in America" implies that we have drifted away from a more ideal past, and that we need a leader to help restore the faith of the people. It's also a not-too-subtle jab at Obama's "American-ness," suggesting that he doesn't share the belief in the core values that make us American.

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