By George E. Curry
Mitt Romney may have moved closer to wrapping up the Republican nomination for president on Tuesday but he can’t seem to move his foot away from his mouth whenever he goes off script. Throughout this campaign, the former Massachusetts governor has been his worst enemy as he struggles to connect with average voters.
Here are some examples:
April 25, 2011 – In an op-ed in the Manchester Union Leader, Romney accused President Obama of going on “one of the biggest peacetime spending binges in American history.”
Simultaneously fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan hardly qualifies as “peacetime.”
April 30 – Speaking at an Americans for Prosperity dinner in Manchester, N.H., Romney said: “Reagan came up with this great thing about the ‘misery index’ and he hung that around Jimmy Carter’s neck. Well, we’re going to have to hang the ‘Obama Misery Index’ around his neck.” Romney continued, “…We’re going to hang him…”
After stopping mid-sentence, Romney added,. “So to speak – metaphorically. You have to be careful these days.”
Yes, Mitt, you do have to be careful these days. And saying even metaphorically that you want to hang a Black man, in this case the president of the United States, shows appalling insensitivity to this country’s long and ugly history of lynching.
June 16 – Speaking to unemployed workers in Tampa, Fla., Romney said, “I am also unemployed.”
When you are worth between $190 million and $250 million and receive more than $20 million a year from investments, you don’t have to work.
Aug. 11 – At the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Romney said: “Corporations are people, my friend.”
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the comment was “one more indication that Romney and the Republicans on the campaign trail and in Washington have misplaced priorities.”
Dec. 10 – During Sioux City GOP debate: “Rick, I’ll tell you what, 10,000 bucks, $10,000 bet?”
Oct. 18 – In the GOP debate in Las Vegas, recalling a conversation he had with his lawn-care service that had employed illegal immigrants: “We went to the company and we said, look, you can’t have any illegals working on our property. I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake, I can’t have illegals.”
Would it be alright if Romney wasn’t running for office?
Jan. 9 – Speaking at a Chamber of Commerce function in Nashua, N.H.: “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”
Jan. 17 – In Greenville, S.C., Romney called the $370,000 he earned in speaking fees in 2011 “not very much money.” According to the Census Bureau, that’s more than seven times the average household income of $49,445.
Feb. 1 – CNN interview: “I’m in this race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich; they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”
Romney made it very clear that he is no John F. Kennedy. And although he professed not to be concerned for the very rich, independent analyses of his tax plan show that’s the group that would most benefit under his proposal.
Comedian Jon Stewart said on his Daily Show: “It’s like a doctor going, ‘I’m not concerned about the very healthy, because they’re doing fine, or the very sick because, you know, morphine.’”
Feb. 24 – Speaking in Detroit: “I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually.”
Way to go Mitt. Remind the audience that your wife drives two vehicles that sell for $35,485-$54,525 each and that you have two homes, each with its own Cadillac. Working-class people can really relate to that.
Feb. 26 – When asked by a reporter at the Daytona 500 if he followed racing, Romney replied: “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans, but I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”
One blogger said Romney saying he had friends that were NASCAR owners was akin to saying you enjoy football because you hang out with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a sky box at the Super Bowl.
But Romney didn’t stop there. He told a group of racing fans wearing plastic ponchos: “I like those fancy raincoats you bought. Really sprung for the big bucks.” Describing ponchos as “fancy raincoats” shows that Romney needs to get out of his mansions more often.
Despite Romney’s effort to put his best foot forward, he usually sticks it in his mouth.
George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. He can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge.