On helping the Middle Class:
"But the president mentioned a couple of other ideas I'll just note. First, education. I agree: Education is key, particularly the future of our economy. But our training programs right now, we've got 47 of them, housed in the federal government, reporting to eight different agencies. Overhead is overwhelming. We've got to get those dollars back to the states and go to the workers so they can create their own pathways to get in the training they need for jobs that will really help them."
"The federal government taking over health care for the entire nation and whisking aside the 10th Amendment, which gives states the rights for these kinds of things, is not the course for America to have a stronger, more vibrant economy."
On the Role of Government:
"But we also believe in maintaining for individuals the right to pursue their dreams and not to have the government substitute itself for the rights of free individuals. And what we're seeing right now is, in my view, a -- a trickle-down government approach, which has government thinking it can do a better job than free people pursuing their dreams. And it's not working."
"Well, the primary responsibility for education is -- is, of course, at the state and local level."
And back on Health Care:
"We'll put in place the kind of principles that I put in place in my own state and allow each state to craft their own programs to get people insured and we'll focus on getting the cost of health care down."
This is not the Mitt Romney I expected.
Don't get me wrong. He was saying the same things to Republicans during the Primaries, and I acknowledge that (however grudgingly). But two things there: one, when talking about the role of the Federal Government versus the States during the primaries, it was where he seemed least comfortable. I don't know if it's because of practice, or just in comparison, but last night he seemed very comfortable and sure of what he was saying. Second, in the Primaries, he was running for Republicans- it's just the thing you say to Republicans if you want to win the Primary.
Last night, he could have let off the gas on the Federalism talk. He didn't have to talk about "the primary responsibility for education" being "at the state and local level." He could have simply acknowledged that the Federal Government can't do it alone, or some-such. That would have been "good enough" for many republicans, and would have been nice and safe for the moderates. He didn't have to mention the 10th Amendment explicitly, but he did. Many Americans don't even know what the 10th Amendment is.
Perhaps the most telling thing, because this is forgotten even by some Tenthers, is that he mentioned the People's rights. Let's look at the 10th again:
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Now let's look at what Romney said about the roll of government: "...what we're seeing right now is ... a trickle-down government approach, which has the government thinking it can do a better job than free people pursuing their dreams."
Mitt Romney obviously gets it much better than I thought. Again, anyone could say these things, but to say them as smoothly and surely as he did? When he had, in essence, two debate opponents? To do that, he has to believe it- at least at some level.
Whether he knows it or not, Mitt Romney is a Tenther.