Despite having spent most of the Republican presidential primaries downplaying his “deeply problematic statist health-care expansion,” Romney spokeswoman and former staffer for the McCain campaign Andrea Saul on Wednesday touted the “benefits” of “Romneycare” while trying to call out Priorities USA for its “Romney Killed My Wife” ad.

When asked about the ad linking Romney to the death of the wife of Joe Soptic, a steelworker who lost his healthcare coverage after Bain Capital closed his plant, Saul responded: “To that point, if people had been in Massachusetts, under Governor Romney’s health care plan, they would have had healthcare.”

Watch at the 1:25 mark [via Mediaite]:

Okay, what does this mean? Let’s avoid hyperventilating:

Mitt Romneys Spokeswoman Said Something on Fox That Has Some People Worried    But Should They Be?Let’s take a step back and try to evaluate what just happened.

First, why did Saul feel it was necessary to go there? She could have kept on point and, you know, focused on any of the following facts: Romney left Bain in 1999, top Obama bundler Jonathan Lavine was Bain‘s managing director at the time of GST’s bankruptcy, GST Steel was shuttered in 2001, Soptic’s wife passed away in 2006, and Soptic’s wife had insurance through her own employer.

Second, expect to see Saul’s “Romneycare” line appear in forthcoming Obama campaign ads. What better way to promote the premise and philosophy of President Obama’s landmark healthcare bill than with the words of his opponents?

Her denouncement of the “Romney Killed My Wife” video should have been easy! Instead, she took attention off the grossly inaccurate pro-Obama ad, made Team Obama’s “Obamacare” argument for them, and it looks like she may have reawakened conservatives concerns over “Romneycare.”

But is Saul’s “Romneycare” tout indicative of a bigger problem with the Romney campaign?

“It’s hard to say what type of political ramifications this specific development will have, but I do think it’s an example of a broader problem. Romney consistently attempts to make up with tactics what he lacks in vision,” writes the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein. “Romney’s campaign isn’t driven by any core ideology or governing philosophy, but by responding to news cycles.”

“So, if Romney thinks touting his past support for government-run health care today can help defend against baseless attacks on his business career, then he’ll tout away, even if it’ll weaken the case against government-run health care he’ll make tomorrow,” Klein adds.

Final thought: Considering a recent offhand remark made by Romney himself, perhaps Saul’s “slip up” wasn’t such a “slip up” after all.

Mitt Romneys Spokeswoman Said Something on Fox That Has Some People Worried    But Should They Be?By Klein’s own admission, the Romney campaign is stocked with tacticians. Is there a broader strategy at play here? If there is, we’re not sure we like it.

UPDATE: Whoa. Conservative authoress Ann Coulter on Wednesday appeared on Fox News’ “Hannity” and, good grief, she is absolutely furious with Saul.

“Her response was not that it was despicable, not that Bain … that Romney had left Bain five years earlier or the woman died five years after the plant closed and didn’t even get her insurance from her husband, her response was, ‘Well, if she had lived in Massachusetts with Mitt Romney’s health care plan, she would have had health insurance,’” Coulter said.

“Anyone who donates to Mitt Romney, and I mean the big donors, ought to say if Andrea Saul isn’t fired and off the campaign tomorrow, they are not giving another dime, because it is not worth fighting for this man if this is the kind of spokesman he has,” she continued, “She should be off the campaign.”


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Front page photo source: The Associated Press, H/T: Mediaite