ROMNEY DEFINES ‘HARD WORK’…. I can appreciate the notion that those vying to be John McCain’s running mate are going to have to become aggressive surrogates, and repeat talking points that sensible people would otherwise try to avoid. But Mitt Romney may not realize how foolish he sounds when pushing the rhetorical envelope as often as he does.

In June, Romney announced that counter-proliferation is a “liberal” issue, so Obama’s work on the policy doesn’t count. A month later, Romney insisted that McCain had invented counterinsurgency doctrine. And yesterday, Romney defended McCain’s house flap from last week in the oddest way possible.

Former governor Mitt Romney, perhaps continuing his audition to be John McCain’s running mate, attacked Barack Obama today for making an issue out of McCain’s many homes.

Speaking to reporters at a lunch sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, Romney said that while McCain deserved his houses because of the “hard work” of himself and his family, “Barack Obama got a special deal from a convicted felon.”

Romney’s wrong on both counts. Obama didn’t get a “special deal” from Tony Rezko or anyone else; he and his wife worked hard, made money, and bought a home.

As for Romney’s assertion that McCain “deserved his houses because of the ‘hard work’ of himself and his family,” he does know that McCain’s second wife is an heiress to a lucrative beer distributorship, right?

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.