Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Romney Puts His Best Foot Forward

It's hard, when you tell a joke and nobody laughs. It's harder still when no one even realized it was a joke.

So it was for Mitt Romney a week or two ago when the presidential candidate innocently asked the press why airplane windows cannot be opened in an emergency. His wife had just been riding on a plane with a cockpit fire, and had sat trapped in smoke that couldn't be exhausted. He may have been sardonically echoing his wife's complaint. He may have been trying to make a joke. The dryness of his humor was missed by the press.

They then noted his failure to provide specifics on his pledge to provide specifics.

But in the first presidential candidates' debate last week, Mitt Romney shone like a newly polished shoe. He had warned ahead of time that he would be armed with zingers. So the President let him zing. The President cooled his heels.

Mitt proposed a $17,000 limit on income tax deductions. Mitt proposed removing Big Bird from the airwaves by de-funding public television. Mitt was confused, refusing to admit that his changes to Medicare would once again deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, although his campaign corrected him the next day.  He backed away from his own tax plan. Mitt said that half of the green energy firms that the Obama administration had given loans to had gone out of business.

Later in the debate, Romney fuzzied up his original $17,000 number:  "Make up a number — $25,000, $50,000. Anybody can have deductions up to that amount."  Charities which depend on deduction-driven contributions were not impressed with his concept. It appears to still be in flux.

"Leave Big Bird Alone" became the battle cry of public television defenders, now rallied to join the anti-Mitt cadres. The New York Times op-editorialized. The Obama campaign came riding to Big Bird's defense.
 
On October 4th, the Romney campaign admitted that Romney didn't mean to say that half the green energy firms that were given help had failed. He said it, but he didn't mean to say it. Not to this audience. (The number is actually about 1%.)

Although Romney had no opportunity to use his "47%" zinger during the debate, on October 5th he denounced his own words, saying about his recorded speech at a fundraiser, "In this case I said something that's just completely wrong."  (As noted on this blog, Romney's statement that 47 percent of the American people are playing a victim game was a confabulation of three different populations: voters, homes with a person receiving government aid, and people who pay no income taxes.) Romney had been roundly criticized for this, and he had paid for his statement in the polls.

The Romney campaign is moving its staff out of Pennsylvania. 28 days before the election. Their work there is done.

At a Romney fundraiser on October 8th, there was a big sign, "No Video or Audio Recordings Allowed of Tonight's Event."  This message warns donors that they are going to be told what they want to hear, not what Romney, given popular pressure, may actually do if  he actually were to be elected.

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