Mitt Romney's attacks on Rick Santorum for supporting the unpopular No Child Left Behind Act — despite, Santorum said, having qualms about it — have come despite Romney's role as a team player for the same law.
BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski recently posted videos of Romney offering staunch support for the legislation, but Romney also won the ringing endorsement of President George W. Bush for his work for the bill.
Bush campaigned for Romney in October of 2002, saying:
I strongly stand with Mitt Romney because I believe he is the best person for the job of Governor of Massachusetts.
But what I like best about him is, they understand--Mitt and [Lieutenant Governor candidate] Kerry [Healey] understand--the number one priority of any State is the education of the children of the State...
We share a philosophy. It's a philosophy incorporated in the No Child Left Behind bill that I had the honor of signing. It starts with the belief that every child can learn, a belief that there ought to be high standards and high expectations in our society. You've got to have a Governor who is willing to challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations. If you lower the bar, see, if you believe certain children can't learn--inner-city kids, kids whose parents may not speak English as a first language--if you believe that, the systems will reflect that. They'll just shuffle the kids through. That's unacceptable anywhere in the United States of America.
Romney hasn't abandoned that position — he defended his support for the law at last week's debate in Arizona — and his staff say there's nothing awkward about his attacking Santorum for taking the same side as he did.
"Gov. Romney's criticism of Santorum is that he voted for NCLB even though he said he was opposed on principle," said a Romney aide. "Typical insider."