President Obama just can't help lifting from Mitt Romney, apparently--but does Romney really want everyone to know that? Eying Obama's video launching his 2012 campaign, grassroots site Mitt Romney Central claims that Obama stole Romney's "change" campaign theme. "Almost no one remembers this, but Gov. Mitt Romney was actually the first candidate to use 'Change' as a slogan during the 2008 primaries," Rebel Ross huffs.
Though it's understandable that a likely Republican 2012 candidate would want to seize the "change" mantle from the sitting president, claiming that Obama was inspired by Romney seems a tad ill-advised. Especially given that perhaps the single greatest hurdle for Romney to overcome in the GOP primary will be to dispell the notion that Obama was inspired by Romney another time: when designing his health care overhaul.
Slate's Dave Weigel also notes that "change" was not exactly a ground-breaking campaign theme in 2008--all politicians say they're going to fix Washington. But Romney is in the curious position of having to promise to undo a national policy based on his signature achievement as Massachusetts governor. At a Nevada campaign appearance over the weekend, Romney said Obama "does me the great favor of saying that I was the inspiration of his plan. If that's the case, why didn't you call me? ... Why didn't you ask if this was an experiment, what worked and what didn't?" As The New Republic's Jonathan Chait notes, Obama did hire the economist behind Romneycare. And if Obama had called Romney, it seems it'd be a bad strategy to be touting collaboration with the health care enemy. Square-jawed, straight-laced Romney seems like the least likely candidate to adopt any form of hipsterism, but in true hipster fashion, he--and apparently his supporters at Mitt Romney Central--just can't help bragging that "I was there first." Even if it costs him votes.