Adding to a steady drumbeat of criticism from conservatives, the right-leaning editorial page of The Wall Street Journal hammered the Romney campaign on Thursday, saying it is “slowly squandering an historic opportunity.”
The jumping off point for the criticism was Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, seemingly in agreement with President Obama, proclaiming earlier this week that the mandate in the 2010 health care law is a penalty and not a tax. On Wednesday, Romney reversed course, saying it was, indeed, a tax. The Journal surmises that Romney's "fear of being labeled a flip-flopper" led his campaign to initially go with the "penalty" stance.
“The Romney campaign thinks it can play it safe and coast to the White House by saying the economy stinks and it's Mr. Obama's fault,” the editorial reads. “Meanwhile, the Obama campaign is assailing Mr. Romney as an out-of-touch rich man, and the rich man obliged by vacationing this week at his lake-side home with a jet-ski cameo. Team Obama is pounding him for Bain Capital, and until a recent ad in Ohio the Romney campaign has been slow to respond.”
The criticism comes after Rupert Murdoch, who owns The Journal, complained on Twitter on Sunday that the Romney camp was too insular. “Tough O Chicago pros will be hard to beat unless he drops old friends from team and hires some real pros. Doubtful,” Murdoch said of Romney. Former General Electric chairman Jack Welch also chimed in with a tweet in support of Murdoch’s position.
The Romney campaign has pushed back against the calls for a shake-up, saying that they respect the views of other conservatives but have no plans to make any changes at this point.