POLITICO got a huge scoop yesterday.
Mitt Romney’s spending a lot of money on his house outside of San Diego.
At Mitt Romney’s proposed California beach house, the cars will have their own separate elevator.
There’s also a planned outdoor shower and a 3,600-square foot basement — a room with more floor space than the existing home’s entire living quarters.
Those are just some of the amenities planned for the massive renovation of the Romneys’ home in the tony La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, according to plans on file with the city.
A project this ambitious comes with another feature you don’t always find with the typical fixer-upper: its own lobbyist, hired by Romney to push the plan through the approval process.
Work on the project has not yet begun.
But it may not help Romney — whose wealth has caused him trouble connecting with average folks — to be seen building a split-level, four-vehicle garage that comes with a “car lift” to transport automobiles between floors, according to 2008 schematic plans for the renovation obtained by POLITICO that are on file with the city of San Diego.
The documents were provided to POLITICO by a rival campaign, but authenticated independently by POLITICO with San Diego officials.
The U.S. Secret Service, in a coordinated appeal with the Romney campaign, requested that POLITICO not publish the specific plans, complete with architectural drawings, submitted to a local agency in California as part of the approval process.
“For operational security, we’d request that you not publish the blueprints,” said Ed Donovan, spokesman for the Secret Service.
POLITICO agreed to the request on security grounds.
Earth-shattering, isn’t it? Romney, who has lots and lots of money, is spending lots and lots of money renovating his house. The POLITICO piece drones on and on about Romney’s renovation project as though it’s a life-and-death affair.
If there’s news here, it’s that Romney had to hire a lobbyist to make sure the city council wouldn’t stop him from doing construction work on his own property. Whatever you think of Romney, that’s a sad commentary on the state of American bureaucracy (or at least California’s bureaucracy).
Romney has some problems. There’s a new poll out which has his disapproval at 50 percent and his approval at 34 percent. He’s only got a 62 percent favorability rating from Republicans, a number that will likely rise a good bit if he’s able to win the GOP nomination. And Romney is likely to take some more punishment as the primaries continue. But on the other hand, he’s just two points behind Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania and gaining, and if he’s able to knock Santorum off in his home state Romney’s your nominee.
What’s more, what’s going on at the Supreme Court is starting to look pretty good for the anti-Obamacare crowd. And if Obamacare is thrown out as unconstitutional, Romney’s biggest Achilles heel in the GOP race – and a major weakness in the general election – goes away. Romney won’t have to answer any more questions about it, and his line that Romneycare was acceptable as a state solution while Obamacare isn’t on the federal level actually will have an intellectual foundation to it (hey, at least my thing in Massachusetts hasn’t been found unconstitutional!) that it doesn’t now.
Take Obamacare off the table as an issue and we can spend the election talking about energy policy when gasoline is $5 a gallon and the power grid is exhausted, or the budget when Obama has run trillion-dollar deficits for four straight years, or national security when Obama has just told the Russians to sit tight until he can get re-elected and then he’ll give away the store, or any of the other issues the president is ruinously incompetent.
And if all he has to deal with from opposing campaigns and the compliant media folks those campaigns plant stories with is that he’s a rich guy who’s doing renovations on his rich-guy house, that disapproval rating will likely come down. The American people aren’t going to care about that when the current president is shutting the economy down.