Per First Read:

*** Why hasn’t Romney caught fire? Both the New York Times and Washington Post today focus on Romney and why he has been unable to excite Republican primary voters so far, despite his improvements on the stump and on the debate stage. Yet here’s one reason both articles don’t really mention: his past positions on issues. While there’s been so much focus on Rick Perry’s record (his support for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, the HPV vaccine mandate) just look at Romney’s: Only six years ago, he supported abortion rights; in 1994, he sent a letter saying he’d be a stronger advocate for gay rights than Ted Kennedy; according to a 2006 article, he supported a path to citizenship for law-abiding illegal immigrants; he has said that his Massachusetts health-care law should be a model for other states; and he said back in June that humans have contributed to the world getting warmer — and that it’s important to reduce emissions to combat that. All of those positions are anathema to conservatives. A question: Does this Republican electorate want to “settle,” gravitate behind the most electable? When they’ve “settled” in the past, many conservative leaders have regretted it (see McCain or Dole or Bush 41).

*** Romney addresses the flip-flopper charge: Speaking of Romney and his position on the issues, he yesterday addressed the perception that he’s a flip-flopper, per NBC’s Jo Ling Kent. “In the private sector, if you don’t change your view when the facts change, well you’ll get fired for being stubborn and stupid,” he said in a town hall in New Hampshire. “Winston Churchill said, ‘When the facts change I change too, Madam.’” Of course, it was just last week when Romney suggested he doesn’t change positions. The American people “can tell when people are being phony and are pandering to an audience,” he said, “and you’ll see that in politics. You’re not going to see that in my campaign.”

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