As this Politico piece notes, Mitt Romney didn't convince many critics of his Massachusetts health care overhaul in his speech yesterday. Those who didn't like RomneyCare before the speech still didn't like it afterwards—and quite a few folks seemed to like Romney even less for refusing to back away from his plan.
As a political play, then, it's hard to see the speech as anything but a disaster for Romney, who clearly would like to be the GOP's next presidential nominee: Few Republican primary voters will ever see the whole mid-afternoon speech, which wasn't even broadcast on the cable news networks. But they will hear quite a bit of loud criticism of it from those who remain unconvinced by Romney's continued defense of the Bay State's mandate-and-subsidy driven health care plan. At best, Romney's approach might play well with independents, who tend to like compromise. But that won't matter if he doesn't win the nomination, which now seems all but impossible. If opposing ObamaCare in any form is a priority for the conservative base that votes in GOP primaries, then I suspect voting against Romney will be too.
Still, Romney did manage to win plaudits from at least one influential political institution: The White House. Speaking to reporters earlier today, Obama administration press secretary Jay Carney had nice things to say about Romney and the Massachusetts health care overhaul he passed: "We have said before that health care reform that then Governor Romney signed into law in Massachusetts is in many ways similar to the legislation that resulted in the Affordable Care Act…we obviously feel that Massachusetts took a smart approach towards health care reform."
Read my not-so-enthusiastic take on Romney's speech here.