The Mitt Romney that showed up to last night’s Denver debate was a distinctly different Romney from the one that campaigned for the Republican primary. Aside from the new tax plan, Mitt Romney identifying much of Barack Obama’s professed priorities as his own as well; though he stuck to the “repeal Obamacare” rhetoric, he described how he’d reform it, not how he’d repeal it, he agreed with the president on prioritizing education “investments” and on protecting Medicare. While the lack of many substantive differences between Obama and Romney did not surprise any avid observers of the process, it was a surprise to anyone expecting substantive differences who was actually listening. When the two weren’t debating in the weeds, Romney was adopting Obama’s priorities and goals and arguing that he could achieve them better. The debate looked more like a discussion between a conservative Democrat and a moderate-to-liberal one than between two candidates who are supposed to come from parties that are substantively different. There were certainly two contrasting paths for America displayed last night, but both lead to the same place, bigger government and a more managed economy
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