There's been quite a bit of consternation among reporters lately about Mitt Romney’s refusal to answer their questions. And rightly so. But let’s be clear onwhyRomney is refusing to engage reporters. If he did, he’d face questions about the mounting instances of dishonesty his campaign has resorted to in the final stretch — potentially tripping him up and placing all the dissembling into even sharper relief.
In the race’s final days, Romney has adopted what you might call a Kamikaze strategy. His campaign is cranking out a startling number of falsehoods and sleazy attacks, drawing widespread condemnation in the media that could ultimately crash his campaign, because that condemnation dovetails with Obama’s closing character argument against him.
Of course, the Kamikaze analogy only goes so far. If Romney’s calculation proves correct — and all the ad spending overwhelms whatever criticism his falsehoods and distortions draw in the media — his quest for the presidency would obviously come to fruition, rather than perish.
Today the Romney camp released anew adhitting Obama for his proposal to appoint a “secretary of business.” The ad intones: “His solution to everything is to add another bureaucrat.” But therelevant Obama proposalwasn’t to “add” any bureaucrats. It was toconsolidatea range of government agencies that minister to the needs of businesses.
The Romney camp is also running anew Spanish language TV adin Florida that ties Obama to Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. The pettiness and irrelevance of attacks like these risk generating more media questions about whether Romney has run out of arguments and believes he’s losing the race.
Meanwhile, the Ohio press continues to pound Romney for the centerpiece of this Kamikaze strategy: His false claims about the auto-bailout and Jeep supposedly moving American jobs to China. Dems are circulatingthis scorching editorial in the Youngstown Vindicatorthat hits Romney’s Jeep lie as an “insult to Ohioans” and bluntly states that Romney is “no friend of the auto industry, on which Ohio relies for one of every eight jobs.” Anotherhard-hitting editorial in the Toledo Bladeblasts Romney for an “exercise in deception about auto-industry issues that is remarkable even by the standards of his campaign.”
All of this feeds directly into the final argument Obama is making about Romney’s character, integrity, and authenticity: He’ll shamelessly say anything to win and as a result you can’t trust him on anything, let alone to look out for your interests. Romney is banking that he can surf past all the media and Obama camp criticism on a wave of last minute ad spending. Refusing to answer questions from the press is central to pulling that off. If Romney were to take questions from reporters, he’d be asked to answer for all of this stuff.
After all, when reporters do press him on his dishonesty and/or evasions, the results aren’t pretty. Romney faced harsh criticism for his refusal to answer questions about whether he still agreed with his previous suggestion that he favors transferring FEMA responsibilities to the states. Andas Steve Benen notes, the statement he finally did release on FEMA didn’t put to bed lingering questions about his position.
None of this is to say Romney’s closing strategy can’t work. But it’s a pretty massive and audacious gamble on his part.
I think both candidates, after Sandy hit, should have reduced their campaign spending and looked into a way to divert the funds for relief assistance. Can you imagine the bump Romney would have received if he did something of that nature? My fellow Americans, in this time of crisis and tragedy, I have decided to focus my campaigns resources to helping the millions of Americans affected by this disaster, as of today we are reducing our spending by XX% and will use whatever assets we can to assist in this cause. While this may hurt my chances to win the election, I think the safety and security of Millions of Americans is more important.
You want to talk about a Political Gold Mine, Romney would win hands down.
Ahhh, but maybe they can't use the money that way!!! You tell me what politician is going to commit political suicide by outright challenging that?
Anyway, it was just a nice thought on my part, you know, seeing a politician or a candidate actually putting the people before themselves, a win win for everyone, but nahh, another 90 million in TV ads the next few days will really make a difference.....