Fox's Megyn Kelly grills the "establishment" candidate on an open flame:
One thing that's been an albatross around your, not from your campaign's perspective but from Rick Santorum's, is 'Romneycare'. Our viewers know, obviously, that you backed that in Massachusetts and they want to know whether this is going to be an issue for you against Barack Obama. You have said repeatedly, "Look, I'm for states figuring out what they want to, that's what Massachusetts did, I don't back a national mandate, a national health care program like we see with the President's health care law." But now, on the Internet and otherwise, some people are circulating a clip of you, back in the last campaign during an ABC News debate in which Charlie Gibson asked you a question about national mandate, and you seemed to back that.Here's the clip:
What an ending! Just as Romney starts to defend his record, Megyn Kelly cuts him off. "Only 10 seconds left", she says.
Here's my take: I think that this is a deliberate calculation by the folks at Fox News. Though the network maintains its "fair and balanced" mantra, it is a foregone conclusion that the network has a conservative/Republican bend to reporting and analysis. And while that may the case, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have not been shy about claiming that Fox is in the proverbial tank for Mitt Romney.
My guess is that Roger Ailes & Co. want to project that same "fair and balanced" meme to their coverage of the Republican primaries in addition to, well, everything else (allegedly). What better way to show their balance-iness than having Romney on the air and make the appearance of holding him responsible for things that he has said about health care 'mandates'.
Now, if you ask me, this is a non-starter. Romney has spoken, at length, about his 'Romneycare' health plan in Massachusetts. Not because he wants to, mind you -- but because he has had to defend it to Republicans.
Whether or not there is an individual mandate in 'Romneycare' is irrelevant, as his rebuttal always invokes the 10th Amendment, "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." Romney's argument can be boiled down to a states' rights issue; individual states should be/are allowed to pass laws as they see fit. Romney's viewpoint is that the federal government should not tell citizens what health care they should or should not have -- it should be left to state governments to do that.
So, here we have Fox News Channel -- The Bainstream Media™, according to Santorum and others (heh, see what I did there?) -- looking like they are backpedaling. Fox is trying desperately to look like they are not subscribing to the "Mitt-Romney-is-the-presumptive-nominee" meme.