Dems call Romney 'the next Cheney'

Michael Holtzman

Two state Democratic leaders and another from Mitt Romney’s home state of Michigan depicted the former Massachusetts governor and one-time Republican presidential candidate as “the next Cheney” during a media conference call Thursday.

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., Massachusetts Democratic Committee Chairman John E. Walsh, and David Woodward, a Michigan county commissioner for Oakland County, helped launch

The Democratic National Committee’s partisan Web site is aimed at discrediting Romney’s as a potential vice presidential running mate for Sen. John McCain.

They called a vote for Romney a vote for four more years of Bush-Cheney.

Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, called the state’s governor from 2002 to 2006 an “ineffective and inconsistent politician.”

He said Romney, who showed liberal leanings when he ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1994, has held back-and-forth positions over the years on charged issues like abortion, gun control, gay rights and the environment.

“I have never seen anyone so completely without any commitment to any particular principle and so willing to say whatever he thinks will help him get elected,” Frank said.

He said the one-term governor “showed not only no penchant for governing, but no interest.”

Walsh called Romney, 61, a multimillion dollar businessman and CEO of the 2002 winter Olympics in Utah, “a disaster for our state” when he was governor.

That’s reinforced by the state ranking 46th in job creation, with “40,000 fewer people working” when Romney left office, Walsh said.

When asked why the Democrats were taking a pre-emptive attack on Romney, Frank said it’s natural since he’s on the short list of potential vice presidential candidates and “the public should hear as much as they can” about his background.

Others on the short list the DNC Web site has targeted include Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor who headed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after Sept. 11; Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, whom they say Vice President Dick Cheney hand-picked to run for that office; and Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

Romney, the son of former Michigan Gov. George W. Romney, was also targeted for criticism Woodward.

In Michigan, the No. 1 issue is the economy in a state where people are losing jobs and homes in great numbers, he said.

Walsh said backing a Republican team with Romney joining McCain would be “embracing the failed policies of George Bush. We can’t afford to do that,” he said. “We need a completely new direction.”

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