“This is not exciting and barn-burning,” Mitt Romney admitted as he stood today amid 65,000 empty seats at Detroit’s Ford Field to deliver what was billed as a major economic address, “but it’s important.” He was right, at least, about the first part. The awful optics—the 1,200 supporters who showed up didn’t even fill the rows of chairs that stretched to the end zone—occasioned derision from just about every politico with a Twitter account. (See “Daily Meme,” below.) But what did Romney actually say? Nothing surprising. He called for cutting income tax rates by 20 percent, anticipating that economic growth and curtailing some (unspecified) tax breaks will keep the deficit from skyrocketing. He announced his intention to raise the minimum age for Social Security and to create a voucher system for Medicare. And he reiterated that he would drop the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, the rate that Obama’s new tax plan reserves for manufacturers. Along the way, the “resolute” Romney reinforced two things that have become pillars of his Michigan strategy—his affection for trees and cars. “This feels good, being back in Michigan. You know, the trees are the right height,” he said. “The streets are just right. I like the fact that most of the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles. I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually.” Journalists immediately pounced on the Cadillac line as the latest instance of an off-script Romney gaffe. And while he was at it, the candidate also reaffirmed his enthusiasm for firing people, promising to shrink the federal workforce by 10 percent.
So They Say
“Americans are tired of being tired.”
—Vice President Joe Biden, speaking in Thomasville, North Carolina
Daily Meme: Next Stop, Grand Canyon?
- Adam Sorenson: “Tomorrow, Mitt Romney will address the Arizona Economic Club in the Grand Canyon.”
- Tim Murphy: “Outkast only had one Cadillac.”
- Laura Ingraham: “Query: Why move the event to a larger venue when it looks like Romney would not have been able to fill a smaller one?”
- Molly Ball: “Romney's empty stadium speech actually an extremely clever campaign tactic to panic his supporters so they swarm the polls Tues. #surewhynot”
- Dylan Byers: “Which leads me to wonder, can @PolitiFact fact-check Romney's Michigan tree statement?”
- David Weigel: “Now we know why Romney bombed in Minnesota. All the trees are above average.”
- Lizzie O'Leary: “Question: is there a place where trees are the wrong height?”
What We're Writing
- Paul Waldman offers a sneak peak at this fall’s inevitable claims of “liberal bias.”
- Jamelle Bouie reports on Kansas Republicans’ plan to raise taxes on the poor.
What We're Reading
- The Atlantic: Which 2012 election photo would most unnerve a martian?
- Buzzfeed imagines what's behind the "Promney" bromance.
- McSweeney's conjures what a Ron Paul administration would look like.
- Jeb Bush is as mystified by the campaign as anyone else.
- A former Bain Capital employee is on a mission to challenge Romney's self-proclaimed "job creator" label.
- Are Michigan's trees the right height?
Poll of the Day
Among likely independent voters in four key swing states—North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, and Florida—Rasmussen finds that Rick Santorum fares eight points better than Romney.