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Keeping Romney at arm's length

Associated Press

The Romney campaign and its surrogates are eager to convince the public the candidate's "47 percent" problem is little more than clumsy language, but keep an eye on Republican candidates who'll face a simple question: do you agree with the presidential candidate?

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon was quick to distance herself from Mitt Romney's remarks captured on video at a closed-door fundraiser in Florida. [...]

"I disagree with Governor Romney's insinuation that 47 percent of Americans believe they are victims who must depend on the government for their care," McMahon said on her Facebook page around 10:30 a.m. "I know that the vast majority of those who rely on government are not in that situation because they want to be."

Now, it's worth remembering that McMahon's perspective on this has, shall we say, evolved. A year ago, the wrestling-company-executive turned Senate candidate complained, "47 percent of the people today don't pay any taxes, so let's have a fair tax code where everybody pays their taxes." As of today, however, the candidate seems to have a different perspective.

But the larger point is, McMahon is a Republican in a competitive Senate race, and within a day of her party's presidential candidate running into another round of trouble, she wasted no time in saying, in effect, "I'm not with that guy."

One assumes plenty of other Republican candidates will be asked to weigh in as well. Pay particular attention to Sen. Scott Brown (R) in Massachusetts -- he and Mitt Romney share a campaign strategist.

Update: Brown also distanced himself from Romney's comments, saying in an email, "That's not the way I view the world. As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in. Too many people today who want to work are being forced into public assistance for lack of jobs."