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Mitt Romney said voters ought to kick President Obama out of the White House because he's got too much experience in Washington now -- but way way back in the ancient history of four years ago, Romney was warning Americans of the dangers of not electing a lifelong politician. It's a fascinating turn of events for anyone who remembers the 2008 campaign and the GOP drumbeat of "no experience," "isn't ready," and "just because he talks well" attacks on then-Sen. Barack Obama. But it apparently has taken less than three years in office for Obama to become a full-fledged creature of Washington because there Romney was on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Tuesday morning, announing, "the only way we're gonna get President Obama out of the White House -- because it's hard to replace an incumbent -- is if we have someone run against him who is different than a lifelong politician." Romney added, "We got one in the White House right now."

Can we find a quote in which Romney makes nearly the exact opposite point about the qualifications for president? To Nexis:  Almost exactly four years ago, on December 12, 2007, Romney told Fox News' Hannity & Colmes that he hadn't expected to see then-Sen. Barack Obama rising in polls against Hillary Clinton: 

"I must admit: I find it a little surprising that a guy who has virtually no experience of an executive nature, leadership nature, never run anything, no experience of any significance in the private economy, as a state legislator. He was not doing a lot of heavy lifting in the United States Senate. He hasn't been the champion of a major piece of legislation. And somehow, because he can talk well, why, we think he can be president."

Jiminy! Who would trust an outsider like that guy? After Romney -- a guy who has spent the last decade either in elective office or running for president -- lost to John McCain -- who at that point had been in Congress for 25 years -- he did his part for the Republican team, which was attacking Obama as a lightweight who wasn't ready to be president. During the Democratic National Convention in late August 2008, he told the Denver Post:

"Barack Obama is a charming and a fine person with a lovely family, but he's not ready to be president of the United States of America... You'll never find someone saying John McCain isn't qualified to be president of the United States."
He went further a few days later, telling Fox News' Neil Cavuto on September 3, 2008:
And of course, on foreign policy, you have one man, John McCain, who is experienced, and the other who has really no experience and the lack of experience shows."
Obama's foreign policy experience appears to be less of an issue this election. And as many people have pointed out -- from New York's Jonathan Chait to the Weekly Standard's Jonathan Last to Newt Gingrich -- Romney would have been a career politician if he hadn't lost so many races. He's been a career candidate instead. The point, of course, isn't that people should (or even do) elect presidents based on a human resources review of their resumes. It's that one of the reasons people dislike people who have made a career out of politics is that they spend so much time of their life trying to fake outrage over phony labels like "Washington insiders." 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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