Mitt vs. the fourth estate
If and when Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign dies, our former governor has his excuse picked out: the media did it. In a pre–New Hampshire-primary interview with Politico earlier this week, Romney said his newfound focus on political “change” wasn’t newfound at all; the problem, according to Mitt, was that reporters in Iowa kept obsessing over his conservative credentials. “I go on TV and it’s, like: ‘Tell me about your church, tell me where you stand on abortion,’ ” Romney complained. “There is no question the focus of my campaign has been on changing Washington.”
This isn’t quite as bogus as you might think. Romney didn’t mention the word “change” at all in his first several TV advertisements. But later in his TV-ad oeuvre, he turned the word into something of a mantra — stating that “changing America always starts in Iowa,” for example, and vowing to “work like crazy to go to Washington and bring change there.”
So, is it the press’s fault that Romney isn’t currently known as the change candidate? Not really. Blame, instead, the candidate himself — who astutely sensed the electorate’s desire for change, but lacked the gumption to follow his instincts.
Here’s a telling Romney quote from CBS’s Early Show, on the morning of January 4, one day after he lost to upstart Mike Huckabee in the Iowa caucuses: “Well, you know, I think the race in Iowa was really a very clear call that people want change in Washington. Not in the White House; in Washington.”
That’s nonsensical, obviously, since the White House is in Washington. But it’s also vintage Romney: calculating, inoffensive, and ultimately ineffectual. Candidate, heal thyself.
: This Just In
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