Thanks to the array of options to watch TV online, I don't bother paying for cable at my home in DC. But I've been able to reacquaint myself with the hyperbole of cable news as I've been on the road reporting. This morning I learned of Mitt Romney's "breaking news" flub from MSNBC. At a morning stop in New Hampshire, Romney said, "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me." With increased attention being paid to Mitt Romney's time buying and selling companies, now might not be the best moment to revel in handing out pink slips.
Hours later, Jon Hunstman has already incorporated the line into his attacks on Romney and the DNC was quick to push out this video clip:
After largely ignoring Mitt Romney during Saturday's debate in New Hampshire, the Republican candidates have started attacking the front-runner where it hurts most: his economic résumé. A new 28-minute television advertisement focusing on Romney's time at Bain Capital has the most potential to hurt the candidate given that the former governor touts his experience there as indicative of his ability to fix the U.S. economy. Newt Gingrich-supporting Super PAC "Winning Our Future" produced the film. The advertisement strikes back at Romney's $3.7 million-worth of negative, anti-Gingrich advertising in Iowa, which effectively ruined the former speaker's end-of-the-year momentum.
Mitt Romney's pitch to voters relies heavily on his executive experience. He doesn't spend much time dwelling on his time as the chief executive of Massachusetts (a more fitting selling point for someone seeking the presidency) but rather concentrates on his experience in the private sector as chief executive at Bain Capital. Romney claims himself to be a "job creator." "In the business I had, we invested in over 100 different businesses and net-net, taking out the ones where we lost jobs and those that we added, those businesses have now added over 100,000 jobs," he said over the weekend.
Campaign reporting isn't easy. It has to be done quickly - filing stories every day, or in some cases multiple times a day, around repetitive and artificial events at which not much happens. Today, Mitt Romney went to a diner in Nashua, where he repeated the same talking points he delivered to people in a diner in Portsmouth yesterday, where he delivered the same talking points he delivered to people in a diner in Manchester the day before ... It's awfully difficult to come up with a "take" on the nonsense of campaigning that will be remotely interesting to your audience.
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, campaigns with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, center, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., right, at Exeter High School in Exeter, N.H., Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012.
The non-Romney Republicans had ten hours to stew over their abject failure to lay a glove on the Mittster in Saturday night’s lackluster prime-time debate. Nudged on Sunday morning by moderator David Gregory, who launched the proceedings by asking the aggrieved Newt Gingrich to make an argument against Romney’s electability, they came out with guns blazing at the Meet the Press debate. But it was almost certainly too little, too late, to bring down the frontrunner.
Nothing gets Mitt Romney more animated on the campaign trail than inveighing against President Obama’s penchant for wealth-redistribution. The president wants to “substitute envy for ambition and poison the American spirit by pitting one American against another and engaging in class warfare,” as Romney put it earlier this week in Des Moines. But as the non-partisan Tax Policy Center reported yesterday, the former Massachusetts governor is waging his own brand of class warfare. Romney’s plan would save a middle-income American about $1,400 a year—and lighten a 1 percenter's tax load by $171,000.
It's hard to keep a straight face when Rick Santorum says he is the most electable of the Republican candidates. "We need bold colors, not pale pastels," Santorum said last week in Iowa. "Ladies and gentlemen, be bold. Do not have a pyrrhic victory next November, where we elect a Republican, but we don't elect the person who can do what's necessary for America." He touts his experience winning in a swing state while maintaining his conservative credentials, an implicit ding against Mitt Romney's left-leaning record as governor of Massachusetts. It's a dubious claim for Santorum that's little related to reality considering he lost his last election by a historic 18 points.
I'm sure I'm not alone in finding Rick Santorum a uniquely repellent figure among contemporary Republicans, someone who combines standard-issue objectionable positions on things like economics with a level of reactionary venom on social issues that is becoming unusual even in his own party. With some Republicans, you get the feeling that they'll parrot the party line on the danger of gay marriage, but they really don't mean it. Santorum, on the other hand, really, really dislikes gay people (although he claims he has gay friends, but I'll believe that when we meet one).
By now, you’ve probably heard that the December jobs report was pretty good; the economy grew by 200,000 jobs, and unemployment declined to 8.5 percent. Still high, but a positive trend given the circumstances. As you might imagine, this presents a problem for the Republican presidential candidates, who routinely accuse President Barack Obama of destroying jobs with his policies. Their solution has been to fudge the numbers. To wit, here’s Mitt Romney with a statement on today’s report:
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA—Mitt Romney has never been a great retail campaigner, and he can’t seem to hold a major event without some awkwardness. “I’m here with two beautiful women,” he said in a little pre-speech banter at a rally Thursday, gesturing toward Ann Romney and Cindy McCain. But then he remembered that Governor Nikki Haley was there (standing next to him) and declared, to a few laughs, that “there are a lot of beautiful women in this audience.”