The weeks leading up to the Republican National Convention were not good for Presidential challenger Mitt Romney. So there was hope that all would be forgotten with his nomination and a cast of supporting speeches. But it didn’t work out like that, with Clint Eastwood and his empty chair upstaging the candidate. Still, some hoped that all would be recovered. And then it happened.
I mis-spoke. Or mis-wrote. Or missed something
As the polls began to show that the numbers were moving in Barack Obama’s direction, an amateur video surfaced and was published by Mother Jones. Here, in an unguarded moment, Mitt effectively says that 47% of citizens won’t vote for him because they’re dependent on the state – because they don’t pay Federal Income Tax. He wrote off almost half the electorate.
As gaffes go, it wasn’t really a gaffe: he meant to say it, and he meant what he said. We know this because he convened a late night press conference yesterday and asserted that his case had merely not been “elegantly stated”. And those 47% who he suggests his job “is not to worry about” include a lot of lifetime Republican voters, such as pensioners, the military, and those merely between jobs.
Some who have been following politics across the USA over the years must be wondering what on earth Romney is thinking to not only say such a thing, but to hastily arrange a presser, only to not row back on the comments and maybe give him half a chance of coming out of the ruckus relatively unscathed. Many have already pointed out that Ronald Reagan would never have written any voter off.
Neither would Bill Clinton. And nor does Obama. It’s a no-brainer: you might not empathise with 100% of the electorate 100% of the time, but you want as many as possible of them to vote for you. To suggest you’re going to write off almost half of them is crass and stupid. And that was before he loused up on foreign policy as well, with comments about the Middle East peace process.
“I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel” he stated, before committing himself to do, well, nothing about it: “we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it”. By this time, the pundits were in double facepalm mode, typified by Iain Martin at the Telegraph.
“Several months ago I wrote a column for The Daily Telegraph saying that, on balance, it was preferable for Mitt Romney to win the looming US Presidential election. Since it was written, a video and certain statements by Mr Romney have come to light which suggest that my original argument suffered from severe design flaws. I am now issuing a product recall” wrote Martin today.
Can Romney’s campaign get worse? Will Sarah be saying “you betcha”? Oh dear.