The evening before Paul Ryan rolled out the new compassionate rhetoric of a GOP that cares about poor people and just wants to give them wings to fly, a very different message was being retailed by three former governors of New Hampshire at a conservative fundraiser and grouse-fest in the Granite State.

The headliner, of course, was former Chief Spokesman for the Mitt Romney campaign, the ever-genial John Sununu, who offered this assessment of why Mitt lost:

“They aggressively got out the base of their base, the base of their base that’s dependent, to a great extent economically, on government policy and government programs,” Sununu said during a forum with two other Republican former governors, Steve Merrill and Craig Benson, at Concord’s Grappone Conference Center.

Benson was a bit more explicit:

Benson said the GOP could have better connected with voters by making clear the stark differences between Democrats, who “believe in a nanny state,” and Republicans, who believe in the power of the individual to achieve prosperity.

“For those people that believe that the government can do a better job, here’s what they do a better job of: They get people addicted, in some cases, to the fact that maybe they don’t need to go out and make their own future. They get people addicted to the idea that maybe they can’t do something on their own.

Guess it’s just a matter of bad timing.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.