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Romney Campaign Manager: ‘I Believe We Probably Could Have Just Beaten Perry With the Social Security Hit.’

One of the biggest strikes against Mitt Romney during the general election was that since he had to skew so far to the right during the Republican primary race it was nearly impossible to brand himself otherwise during the general election. Nowhere was this more evident than immigration. Okay, maybe taxes, health care, and lots of other things, too, but still: immigration.

From Slate’s campaign wrap-up:

Romney campaign manager [Matt] Rhoades said he regretted that Romney had moved so far to the right on immigration during the primaries in order to out-flank Texas Gov. Rick Perry. “In retrospect,” Rhoades said, “I believe we probably could have just beaten Perry with the Social Security hit.”

It wasn’t clear exactly what Rhoades regretted. It might have been simply that he wishes he’d anticipated Perry’s quick implosion. Why have Romney risk doing anything that might hurt him later if the target of the attack was going to collapse so spectacularly anyway? It didn’t seem that Rhoades regretted Romney’s policy positions per se.

This kind of post-coital tristesse is always fun because it reminds us people thought Rick Perry could become the president.