Mitt Romney made a curious attack on presidential rival Rick Perry in a speech at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention on Tuesday. In a clear reference to Perry, who has held elected public office in Texas for over two decades, Romney questioned whether a career politician such as the three-term Texas governor can solve the nation’s problems.
“I am a conservative businessman. I spent most of my life outside of politics, dealing with real problems in the real economy,” Romney said told the Veterans of Foreign Wars annual convention in San Antonio. “Career politicians got us into this mess and they simply don’t know how to get us out.”
Romney didn’t mention Perry by name during the speech, which comes as national polls show Perry with more support than Romney, who for months has led the pack seeking the GOP presidential nomination.
The remark suggests that Romney will try to deflate Perry’s strong Tea Party support by painting him as a political insider. The attack rings somewhat hollow, however, when we consider that Romney has been planning his own political future since at least the early 1990s, when he unsuccessfully ran for Senate in Massachusetts. Furthermore, politics has quite literally been Romney’s career over the past five years; despite his tone-deaf declaration that he is unemployed, Romney has actually been running for president almost non-stop since 2007. His criticism of Perry certainly seems like a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
If Republican voters want a political outsider to be their nominee for president in 2012, then perhaps Romney is right that Rick Perry is not their man. But he certainly doesn’t fit the bill either.