TO: Interested Parties
FR: Bill Burton, Priorities USA Action, VIDEO: American Bridge 21st Century
RE: SUNDAY MEMO: Mitt Romney’s 1994 – the year his career in politics began
1994… The Internet was coming to age. Courtney Cox and David Schwimmer debuted the first episode of Friends. O.J. Simpson led America on a slow, winding “chase” to infamy. I got my first car (’84 Chevette). And Mitt Romney — the man now calling Newt Gingrich a “career politician” — was beginning his 17-year career in national politics.
It’s a tactic Romney has perfected over his two decades running for office: Regardless of the circumstances, painting himself as the political outsider and his opponent as a career politician.
The irony is not just the long time Romney has spent in politics, but how he embodies the characteristics of a ‘career politicians’ he claims to be so eager to defeat. He has opportunistically changed on core beliefs so frequently, the conservative Manchester Union Leader wrote that Romney just “tells us what he thinks we want to hear.” But, to court (and win) support from the Republican establishment in Washington and on Wall Street, Romney has continued his pattern of pandering. Even the food he eats and the airlines he flies feel calculated by his chief pollster and strategist.
In the 1994 campaign, Romney’s career politician sentiment may have been honest: “I’ve never run for office before, that’s why I finally decided to do it.”
But it was stale even he flirted with running for office in Utah and Massachusetts in the early 2000s.
It became questionable as he ran for Governor of Massachusetts in 2002.
By the time he began running for President in 2006, it was silly.
Five years into his hunt for the White House, it’s just phony.
Stalled at a 23% plateau for five years now, Romney may have damaged Rick Perry with his savage attacks in the last two months but he did nothing to improve his own standing in the wake. His increased attacks on Newt Gingrich offer yet another opportunity to brutalize a Republican opponent but the disingenuous nature of the attack may well work against him.
This week, Mitt Romney called Newt Gingrich a ‘lifelong politician.’ According to the Chicago Tribune, “Mitt Romney argued Tuesday that he’d be the best Republican candidate to take on President Obama next fall, saying the party needs to do better than a “lifelong politician” like Newt Gingrich. […] “I think to get President Obama out of office, you’re going to have to bring something to the race that’s different than what he brings,” Romney said, after pointing out that Gingrich has spent “30 or 40 years in Washington.” “He’s a lifelong politician. I think you have to have the credibility of understanding how the economy works. And I do.” [Chicago Tribune, 11/29/11]
Mitt Romney attacked Rick Perry as a ‘career politician.’ According to Yahoo! News, “Rick Perry’s poll numbers may be sinking to new lows, but Mitt Romney still considers the Texas governor his most politically viable opponent in the Republican presidential race. Ignoring his other rivals, Romney continues to focus his attacks exclusively on Perry. Case in point: A new website slamming Perry as a “career politician.” [Yahoo! News, 10/18/11]
The New Hampshire Union Leader endorsement of Newt Gingrich implied that Mitt Romney ‘tells us what he thinks we want to hear.’ In their endorsement of Newt Gingrich, the New Hampshire Union Leader wrote that, “We don’t have to agree with them on every issue. We would rather back someone with whom we may sometimes disagree than one who tells us what he thinks we want to hear.” [Union Leader,11/27/11]
Union Leader’s Editorial page editor confirmed criticism of Romney. Cline explained, “And in our assessment, if you were to balance it between Romney and Gingrich, Romney is a very play-it-safe candidate. He doesn’t want to offend everybody — or anybody. He wants to be liked. He wants to try to reach out and — and be very safe, reach out to everybody, bring everybody on board. And that’s, A, not very realistic, but imagine what that would be like as president, somebody who plays it very safe. I don’t think we’re in the kind of situation right now as a country that that’s necessarily the right kind of president at the moment — perhaps in the late 19th century, perfect. Right now, we’re in a lot of trouble in this country. We need a candidate that is bold in his leadership, that has a vision for where he wants to take the country and knows how to get there.” [CNN transcript, 11/27/11; Video]
Romney campaign using Twitter photos to promote image that Romney flies Southwest and eats Subway. According to the Daily Caller, “Mitt Romney is an ordinary American, who flies and eats cheap just like us. Take a look at the Republican presidential candidate’s Twitter feed in recent days, and it’s clear his campaign is making an effort to show that… This isn’t the first time Romney made an effort to not appear so formal, stuffy or wealthy in the age of a weak economy and the tea parties. He’s also noticeably ditched the tie at while on the trail.” [Daily Caller,9/1/11]
Romney: “I’m In This Race Not Because It’s The Next Step In My Political Career. I Don’t Have A Political Career!” On The November 23rd episode of Hardball, Michael Smerconish said ‘Joe, let me play for all of us, but for you comment on, what Governor Romney said today explaining he’s not a career politician.’ The show then cut to a clip of Mitt Romney saying, ‘I’m in this race not because it’s the next step in my political career. I don’t have a political career!’” [MSNBC’s Hardball, 11/23/11]