Most Republican voters have closed all tabs to the right of Mitt Romney, but conservative politicians won't let him maximize his window. House Republicans are openly warning Romney not to deviate from their message on spending cuts the way George W. Bush did in 2000, when he said "I don't think they ought to balance their budget on the backs of the poor." Romney had better not try that, or else, The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman and Jennifer Steinhauer report.
The gravity of the threats in this story seem inversely proportional to the size of the nationwide mandate of the elected official making them. There's Louisiana Rep. Jeff Landry who says, "We’re not a cheerleading squad. We're the conductor. We're supposed to drive the train." (Landry was elected to his first term in 2010 with 108,963 votes. In the first 29 primaries, Romney won 4 million.) There's Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, who noted, "On the big issues -- spending, taxes, what we do with the deficit -- I just don’t see much difference… and more importantly, I don’t see an escape." (Cole was reelected in 2010 with 32,589 votes. He faced no Democratic challenger.) It's only one story of several Monday that show the how tricky it's going to be for Romney to move to the center after the long Republican primary.