Mitt's Policies Worse Than His Gaffes, More

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Mitt Romney's problem isn't so much that he's gaffe-prone. It's more that his verbal slips give real insight into how awful his policies would be. So write TNR's Jonathan Cohn and the Washington Post's Ezra Klein, in separate posts. Romney's recent statement about the "very poor" tries to "drive a wedge between the poor and the middle class, convincing the latter that they lose out … when Democrats are in charge," writes Cohn. In fact, however, the "safety net" mentioned by Romney is intended to assist the "15 percent of Americans and 22 percent of children [living] below the poverty line," not just the nation's very poorest. Moreover, according to Klein, Romney's proposed tax policies would only benefit the so-called "very rich," with "a a $69 tax cut for the average individual in the bottom 20 percent and a $164,000 tax cut for the average individual in the top one percent." [Washington Post, The New Republic]

In other campaign news and commentary:

Romney is likely to win the next nominating contest – Nevada's Saturday caucus. He has about 45 percent of the vote in a Las Vegas Review-Journal poll, with Gingrich in second with 25 percent. [Washington Post]

Attacks on Romney by liberals and his GOP rivals, not to mention his own scorched-earth campaign tactics, have taken their toll on his popularity. Fully 49 percent of voters hold an unfavorable view of the robotic Republican frontrunner, and among independents, just 23 percent hold a favorable view. [National Journal]

Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have forged a quiet detente. "The Romney-Paul alliance is more than a curious connection," writes Amy Gardner of the Washington Post. "For Paul, [it's] an opportunity to gain a seat at the table if his long-shot bid for the presidency fails; for Romney, a chance to gain support from one of the most vibrant subgroups within the Republican Party." The candidates' advisers have even begun coordinating television appearances and discussing speaking slots at the nomination convention. [Washington Post]

Don't count Gingrich out, Alexander Burns cautions. Granted, the odds of another comeback are long, but you never know. If he can narrow his message to a "simple, compelling, easy-to-remember set of concrete proposals," rather than bouncing around from space exploration to religion to kosher food, and harp on Romney's money and Mormonism, playing to the hilt the role of "spokesman for aggrieved, lower-income whites who may be skeptical of whether either Romney or Obama shares their values," he could revive his flagging candidacy. [Politico]

Romney has hoovered up more money from Wall Street and real estate interests than any other candidate. His campaign raised $12 million from individuals who work in financial companies, not to mention the $18 million given to Romney's super PAC by Wall Street execs and company coffers. "They're giving a lot of money, and when industries and individuals are giving a lot of money to a candidate, it's because they want something in return," noted a campaign reform advocate. [CNN Money]

Romney is the 2012 version of John Kerry or Al Gore, Jacob Weisberg of Slate argues. Statuesque, handsome, from privileged backgrounds and impeccably credentialed," he writes, "they have no log-cabin stories to humanize and ground them …. [They are, all three] too wooden in person while too flexible in their views." [Slate]

GOP redistricting is "resegregating the South," writes Ari Berman in the Nation. "To protect and expand their gains in 2010," he says, Republicans are using the once-a-decade redistricting process to "[increase] the number of minority voters in majority-minority districts represented overwhelmingly by black Democrats while diluting the minority vote in swing or crossover districts held by white Democrats." The result is racially divided voting that will make winning elections more difficult for Democrats. [The Nation]