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January 21, 2012 11:15 AM The problem that’s hard to fix

By Steve Benen

Think about where Mitt Romney stood a week ago. He’d won the nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire; his national lead was large and getting larger; and he enjoyed double-digit leads over his squabbling competitors in the South Carolina primary.

And then think about where Romney stands this morning. It turns out he lost Iowa to a candidate he outspent 7 to 1; his national lead has, according to Gallup, “collapsed” over the course of the last several days; he struggled through two widely-panned debate performances; and polls suggest he’s likely to lose the South Carolina primary.

It’s likely, in about 12 hours, the only contest Romney will have won will be in the state he lives in for much of the year.

There wasn’t one story or development that caused this shift, and all things considered, Romney is still very well positioned to win his party’s nomination anyway. But it’s worth pausing to consider why Romney is struggling in unexpected ways.

Benjy Sarlin and Kyle Leighton reported this week on Romney’s “likability problem.”

Mitt Romney may be on the verge of securing the nomination, but his campaign is still struggling with a pretty basic problem as it looks towards the general election: people just don’t like him very much.

Romney’s never been the kind of candidate to draw legions of screaming fans, but new polling over the last week show a troubling trend for him — his personal favorability numbers are taking a hit. On Tuesday Public Policy Polling (D) showed Romney with a favorability split well into the negative, with 35 percent of general election voters seeing him positively and 53 unfavorably. On Wednesday, the Pew Research center released similar numbers: a 33 - 47 split nationally.

While Republican voters are starting to come around to his candidacy, the rest of the country doesn’t seem too pleased with what they see. Romney’s lost six points on favorability among independent voters since Pew’s last poll in November, leading to a 13 point gap on the metric, 33 - 45. The TPM Poll Average of Romney’s national favorability now shows a 5.8 deficit, and his unfavorability has risen ten points during the last two and half months in our numbers.

Here’s that problem in visual form:

Nate Silver makes a persuasive case that favorability polls can be a little tricky, but he agrees the process is taking its toll of voters’ impressions of the former governor.

The point that should concern the Romney campaign most is how difficult it is to address a problem like this. He was leading in Iowa, but after he spent more time in the state, Romney’s edge disappeared. He was leading in South Carolina, but after campaigning aggressively in the state, Romney’s advantage disappeared here, too. Even in New Hampshire, Romney won with relative ease, but polls conducted a week before the primary showed him with a bigger lead than what he ended up with.

What does a candidate do when the more voters seem him, the less they like him?

Jamison Foser joked the other day that Romney is “basically the jerky rich kid from an ’80s teen movie, grown up.” That struck me as compelling, not only because I saw a lot of ’80s teen movies, but because I perceive Romney the same way. Given recent polls, it seems I’m probably not alone.

Maybe he’d excel more as a candidate if he campaigned less?

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

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  • Bo on January 21, 2012 11:27 AM:

    Mittens may have a "likability" problem but Newtie has an "acceptability" problem. It's one thing to be disliked but it's worse to be rejected.

    Stay tuned and make some popcorn. The GOP clown show is just going to keep getting better and better.

  • ed on January 21, 2012 11:33 AM:

    Also2: Newt was willing to abandon the racist dog whistle for the racist civil defense warning. On MLK Day. Directed at a black man, no less. That moment was the clear pivot point. This is also a problem that is hard to fix. It is impossible to overlook and should be noted whenever possible.

    The modern Republican Party is so awesome.

  • c u n d gulag on January 21, 2012 11:33 AM:

    Mitt's just SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO stiff!

    Someone either needs to tell his laundress not put so much starch in his magic underwear, or remove the stick up out of his ass.

    Or both.

    MITT 3.0 is the least sincere-looking, least-likeable, cyborg ever created.

  • Danp on January 21, 2012 11:35 AM:

    Maybe he’d excel more as a candidate if he campaigned less?

    The old Giuliani syndrome.

    I think his tax problem is bigger than he expected, too. Republicans are a cynical lot, and telling them he'll wait to show his taxes after it's too late is just plain stupid. It's kind of like refusing to show your birth certificate, when all the evidence shows you're a Kenyan. Well, except that Republicans don't need all that much evidence.

  • rashomon on January 21, 2012 11:36 AM:

    Romney's campaign thinks so also. Look how much they rely on paid media and scripted events. It's not because Romney isn't sharp enough. He doesn't connect with voters outside his "resume". As long as he can run a front-porch campaign, he's fine. As soon as things get into unscripted give-and-take scenarios, he struggles. Which works well most of the time in a modern campaign, particularly a long general election. In rough and tumble primaries, not so much. His campaign has the funding for a long slog campaign...do they have the right candidate?

  • Bo on January 21, 2012 11:37 AM:

    Mittens 3.0 = "The Terminator"
    Newtie X.0 = "The Verminator"

  • TCinLA on January 21, 2012 11:45 AM:

    Perhaps Willard should move back to France and let his campaign win without him.

    Please! Stop calling him Mittens!! Mittens the kitten gets really upset when people use her name in vain, and you really don't want to see such a sweet little friend when she gets upset. :-)

    Captcha: You want me to write in Armenian script???????? What sort of worthless otherwise-unemployable with time on their hands to constantly hit "try again" would be so fucking STUPID as to invent this system??????

  • me on January 21, 2012 11:59 AM:

    Billy Zabka for President!

  • johnny canuck on January 21, 2012 12:06 PM:

    To TCinLA, Cundgulag, and other fans of Recaptcha. You should watch this all the way to the end without throwing anything at your computer: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/enluis_von_ahn_massive_scale_online_collaboration.html

  • Anon on January 21, 2012 12:09 PM:

    Is Newt on enough state ballots? He failed to qualify in Va. Are there any other states where he won't appear?

  • Bernard HP Gilroy on January 21, 2012 12:10 PM:

    >> He was leading in Iowa, but after he spent more time in the state, Romney’s edge disappeared. He was leading in South Carolina, but after campaigning aggressively in the state, Romney’s advantage disappeared here, too.

    Maybe he should go really old school and campaign the way Hayes or Tilden did: That is, not campaign at all, just let your paid surrogates spread the word.

  • c u n d gulag on January 21, 2012 12:15 PM:

    johnny caunuck,
    That link doesn't work.

    And I don't care if it makes CRAPTCH seem like the 2nd Coming, I'll hate it forever - and a day!

  • c u n d gulag on January 21, 2012 12:17 PM:

    Obviously, I meant CRAPTCHA!

  • David Carlton on January 21, 2012 12:18 PM:

    Actually, I don't think Romney is the jerky rich kid we knew in high school. I think he's a basically OK rich guy who isn't used to being challenged. CEOs frequently have this problem when they get into politics; they're generally surrounded either with toadies or with people who share their easy assumptions about the virtue of what they're doing. And Romney probably thought this time would be a cakewalk because his attitudes toward money are so widely promoted by the right-wing propaganda machine. And indeed up until recently the standard critique of the campaign was that the not-Romneys weren't laying a glove on him--that they were too concerned with beating up each other. SC is really the first real challenge he's received--and it turns out to be deeply personal. Nobody's going after him on his policies, of course, because there's little daylight between the candidates on those, apart from who's the best panderer to the base. But Romney's major appeal has been as the guy who knows how to create jobs because he's been in private business, and because he's rich, i.e. a "job-creator" by definition. To challenge him, one has to challenge that whole right-wing narrative. Now, I doubt that Gingrich has been successful at doing that--I think [and I'm a native South Carolinian] that he's mainly succeeded by pushing some old southern demagogue buttons--but he has made Romney feel for the first time that he has to defend himself *as a person.* And he's lousy at doing that, as I suspect any of us would be. He's used to seeing himself as a virtuous guy who does things that his society values; indeed, as a man of faith it's critically important to his sense of self that he see himself as virtuous. Now all of a sudden he's discovering that the attitudes of ordinary Americans toward what people like him do are a lot more complicated, and he doesn't know how to deal with it. He's smart, and maybe he'll still get his act together with smart advice. But it's got to be a profoundly disorienting moment for him.

  • atlliberal on January 21, 2012 12:19 PM:

    So Mitt has a "likability" problem that will cause him to lose to the one time most hated man in America?

    I just don't see it happening. I could be wrong, since the Republican electorate is simply not rational this year, but I'll believe it when ALL the votes are counted.

  • JD on January 21, 2012 12:20 PM:

    Good thing for the Republicans that they have such a likable guy in the wings: Newt Gingrich.

  • Sean Scallon on January 21, 2012 12:26 PM:

    Why don't we call Mitt by his real name. No, not Willard. It's Thomas E. Dewey.

  • johnny canuck on January 21, 2012 12:30 PM:

    Sorry,about the link, i'll try again.
    seriously, Cundgulag you should watch it.


    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/luis_von_ahn_massive_scale_online_collaboration.html

  • SadOldVet on January 21, 2012 12:32 PM:

    Little George was the candidate that the ameriKKKan sheeple wanted to have a drink with.

    Mr. Mittens is the candidate that even the ameriKKKan sheeple are realizing is the one mostly likely to have mistreated servants.

    Gosh, I just cannot understand why Mittens is not liked! Just because he is a condescending, arrogant prick who mistreats the peons? Just because he comes across as a self-important asshole who knows that he is entitled because of his heritage? Just because he comes across as being above the truth?

    Even the Little Georges who were born on third base and think they hit a triple know that you have to at least pretend to care for the little people.

    Don't count out Mittens! If you look at the list of the top 20 campaign contributors (including the SuperPacs) so far, 17 of them are repuke funders and 7 are Mormons. Big money and repuknican voter suppression efforts may yet carry the day so that the 1/10 of 1%ers can have one of their own in the White House.

    Whether you love you some Obama or believe he is the much lesser of two weasels, as this year moves forward, get off your asses, loosen up your vocal cords, and work hard to get Obama reelected!

  • bigtuna on January 21, 2012 12:47 PM:

    I don't want to get all sociological on you, but it is not just the jerky kid in HS. You all need to understand mormon faith + social structure + businessmodel, which are deeply woven together. I heard a good interview with the two Boston Globe guys who recently wrote a book about Romney, and they delved some into the mormonisn. Not only is a smart, white, privilenged sucessful businessperson who is not used to being challenged, he is a smart, white, privilenged sucessful mormon businessperson who has held the presidency of a stake, and ward posts. I live and work with these people. Trust me. The do not get challenged. THey get their orders from church central in SLC, and they operate wards and stakes - basically, the ops center for 100's to 1000's of people, who look to them for operations, business, finance, religious, and social leadership. There are no paid clergy. Willard act in every way, shape, and form as the unctious guy across the street who would help me out in a second, and judges me every day. He doles out all sorts of volunteer jobs, including who runs the boy scout troop, who works with the aging, who teaches sunday school, who teaches the finance classes, discipline, etc., and they do NOT get questioned.

    Even if they did drink beer, these are not guys you'd ever want to have a beer with ...

  • Peter G on January 21, 2012 12:55 PM:

    A personality transplant for Mitt would seem to be in order. The man exudes a sense of entitlement while campaigning against other people's entitlements. It was probably a mistake for Mitt to make "Inevitable" his sub rosa campaign slogan.

  • c u n d gulag on January 21, 2012 12:58 PM:

    johnny canuck,
    Damn you!

    DAMN YOU!!!

    DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOU!!!

    DAMN YOUR F'IN ROTTEN F'IN SOUL TO EVERLASTING F'IN HELL for making me feel better about CRAPTCHA, and making me realize that it actually serves a useful purpose! Or two, or three...

    Seriously, JC's right.
    We should all watch it. It's funny AND informative!
    Thanks.

    But, still - damn you!!! :-)

  • bigtuna on January 21, 2012 1:10 PM:

    I forgot to mention, even growing up outside of Utah, the traits that you all see in Willard are developed in these mormon guys from a really early age. Our current guv is an exception, [dumber than a fencepost] but Mike Leavitt [former HHS sec with shrub] and most other big time mormon politicos - Huntsman; Hatch; Mike Lee; Jason Chaffetz, Romney, etc., all have these trants of coming off as holier than thou, I know better; I work harder; if only you'd buck up and buy into the American dream attitude. It was stated above by SadoldVet:

    'condescending, arrogant prick who mistreats the peons; self-important asshole who knows that he is entitled because of his heritage; above the truth
    assholes '

    welcome to my world. And even worse, the skiing has sucked this year ...

  • SKM on January 21, 2012 1:14 PM:

    Video - "Mitt Romney Promises to Raise Retirement Age, Privatize Medicare, Slash government Jobs at Koch Brothers Event," http://kochwatch.org

    Steve, don't know if you can link this video or not, but, it is also at crooks and liars.

    At Koch Watch dot org, they also videos of Limbaugh at Koch events (Americans for Prosperity).

    Another video captures Willard lying - it was a youtube video "Romney complains Federal Employees Make More than He Does," this was captured while he was at a steel plant.

    "Romney Loses Cool With Reporter That Catches Him In A Lie," 5-27-2011 www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVA2Tr_GTlk

  • fs on January 21, 2012 1:22 PM:

    Romney is Management, in fact the very epitome of Management. Nobody likes Management. That's one reason why businessmen rarely if ever proper in politics, two different styles/persona

  • DAY on January 21, 2012 1:24 PM:

    ok, OK! I'll watch the video!
    In the meantime, for those not in on the "tricks" of craptcha, the "normal" word only needs a random key hit- even held down, for a passing grade.
    The Weird Word is also somewhat easy; if you can't distinguish if it is an 'n' or an 'm', etc, just ask for another word. Remember, 'i' always has a dot, 'l' doesn't.
    And if you get a failing grade, hit your BROWSER back button for a second try.
    Now, off to the video!

  • ThisGuy on January 21, 2012 1:24 PM:

    Lets be real, a race that is already decided is boring and there would be no need for the newly installed super pacs to spend Billions on media advertising. Everyone knows what a scumbag Newton Leroy McPherson is and every knows that after all the state primaries are over Willard M Romney will be the one that will lose to Barak H Obama. If there is no controversy in the race then the media will only reap half or less of the profits and it would make lousy TV. The media has ignored other very suitable candidates to give us this crop of fools so Obama will remain giving liberals lip service while continuing to impose the 1% plan of stripping the middle class and poor of any real wealth and possessions of any true value.

  • Matt on January 21, 2012 1:26 PM:

    Sure, Romney's the jerky rich kid. Gingrich is the bitchy girl who stands behind the leader of the popular girls' clique and gets off the best lines. Paul is an extra from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, and Santorum is just some half-developed character who's there to move the plot along.

    But the problem is they never finished casting the movie. Where's the plucky, likable underdog? Who in this crowd is the smart, funny guy who wins the day with his wits and charm? Who the hell is Judge Reinhold or John Cusack or Anthony Michael hall in this picture?

  • Jurgan on January 21, 2012 1:38 PM:

    I'd like to know if there's some more detailed polling on Romney, beyond just like/dislike (there probably is). For example, do you consider him trustworthy? Does he care about the working class? Does he seem knowledgeable on most issues? Or the old "share your values." There's any number of reasons why people might dislike Romney, but I'm curious which one is sticking. And I'm sure the Obama campaign is looking into the same thing.

  • Texas Aggie on January 21, 2012 1:46 PM:

    While campaigning less may help his candidacy, it won't do anything to make him more likable. The real solution would be to be more like his dad and less like one of the Wall St. tycoons. Then he wouldn't have to worry about his favorable/unfavorable ratio because it would take care of itself.

  • bikelib on January 21, 2012 1:53 PM:

    It wasn't a coincidence that Newtie's numbers went up after he put the uppity Juan Williams in his place.

  • rk21 on January 21, 2012 2:04 PM:

    To know him is to hate him.

  • j on January 21, 2012 2:09 PM:

    It is pretty sad when Mittens has to bus in mormons fro DC to swell out his crowds.
    Shame we don't have a charismatic person to go against him in the general election. HA!

  • Guscat on January 21, 2012 2:22 PM:

    Maybe the best campaign tactic Romney could do is once he gets the nomination, if not before, is go to the Cayman islands until the election is over.

  • T2 on January 21, 2012 2:25 PM:

    Bigtuna brought it up....the Mormon thing. Certainly none of Mitts challengers has dared go there. Why? The one thing Mitt doesn't want to come out if he reveals his taxes is the huge amount of money he funnels into The Church, and to political actions that The Church demands and stands for. The Mormon Church sees Romney as their chance to do the biggest Missionary opportunity they've ever done.....convert the USA.
    Once his taxes come out, he won't be able to hide The Church anymore.

  • Hedda Peraz on January 21, 2012 2:30 PM:

    LDS is Scientology, without the crazy parts.

  • MNRD on January 21, 2012 2:54 PM:

    One of the most unlikeable qualities in Romney is the particular way he has of lying about his opponents. The way that he lies exudes the sense that he is entitled to tell ANY lie no matter how outlandish or hypocritical. This makes Romney's rivals and the core supporters of his opponents loathe him. That's what wound up happening with Gingrich and Perry - and that means that the charges coming from Romney's opponents in response to his lies are particularly lethal.

    The quintessential example of a Romney outlandish lie is when he says that President Obama has NEVER put out a jobs plan AT ALL!!!! Now, an opponent of the President who felt a wee bit less entitled might say that the President's job plan won't work - but that is not the approach that Mitt takes. He simply imperiously declares that the President has not presented a jobs plan AT ALL despite the fact that the President's jobs plan has been front and center in the political arena for many months on end!

  • burro on January 21, 2012 2:55 PM:

    I searched comments and the post for the word mormon. It's in there 7 times, and bigtuna gets 5 of them.

    Any analysis of why m.r. isn't trusted or even "liked", which doesn't call out the distrust and dislike that many people have of mormonism, doesn't look at the whole picture.

    m.r. wants to sit in the Oval Office and direct this country. He belongs to a very secretive, self protective and mysterious "religion" that I personally think is on the level of scientology, and one which many people of various ideological leanings consider a cult, and if not a cult, then they're not sure what, but they don't trust it or like it.

    It's considered bad manners to question the religious choices that people make, but that doesn't mean that to themselves, and among themselves, non mormons don't just question what a mormon would bring to the picture, they instinctively don't want it to happen.

    Underlying EVERYTHING that m.r. has done in his life, is his devotion, or at least fealty, to mormonism. My first thought about m.r. is never that he's a repub, or a CEO or a family man or a rich guy, or whatever. His primary defining characterism is that he's a mormon. And I think he would come into that office representing the mormon agenda, and I think many other people are wary of him for that same reason.

    Proselytize is a nasty word. Proselytizing is a fundamental, defining activity of mormonism. The man sitting in the highest office in America could be a man to whom proselytizing for the mormon mindset and lifestyle is bred into the bone. It is certainly a factor in how people decide whether they want to see him as POTUS.

    ReCaptcha not a problem, and thanks johnny canuck for the TED video. I see each one as a little game, and it's interesting to see the underlying design and purpose.

  • burro on January 21, 2012 3:12 PM:

    P.S. There are other "religions" which that comment could pertain to. As an atheist, I would grant it to pretty much all of the usual suspects. But m.r.'s a mormon, so that's what pertains to this conversation.

    I'm an equal opportunity disliker/distruster of all of them. Which makes me less intense about it than someone who has a vested interest in seeing their own particular theo-directives prevail, but who senses the uncompromising wings of the angel macphoney casting a shadow over everything.

  • RalfW on January 21, 2012 3:25 PM:

    I recommend cracking wise about Betty White's birth certificate, and then maybe sing a bar or two of Al Green.

    Oh, wait, those were things done by the rather human and likeable current occupant of the White House.

    Seriously, I watched both clips, and it just amazes me that people think Obama is some soc1alist, America-hating moooslem out to dismantle the American Way.

    Long way around to saying that Obama's got some likeability. Not enough to overcome right-wing racism for their base, but hopefully enough to attract middle-of-the-road voters who will find Mittens to detached and Newt too angry.

  • SKM on January 21, 2012 4:03 PM:

    Burro, T2...

    that's not the only scary part. In certain areas of Nevada, the girls and women dress like in the 1800s, literally, like when we had the buggy wagons movies,or Little House on the Prairie. But note, this is not all of them. The ones that are 'more mainstream,' will wear regular clothing, but nothing revealing. Depending what area you live in, they are not allowed to listen to certain music (like what we listen to) or look at certain television programs. Now, the church and Romney does own, and are purchasing almost all the radio stations, newspapers...they have a monopoly on the media under Clear Channel Communications, and Bonnieville International. For the men, especially the men, the church and moving up the ladder is very important.

    And you guys are right, especially Bigtuna, their prophecy is to turn America to 'A Mormon Kingdom of Zion,' and they have a film called A Mormon President.

    But, I think Romney is going to have it hard by telling people he will create jobs...when there is a video of him - "Mitt Romney Promises to Raise Retirement Age, Privatize Medicare and Slash Government Jobs at Koch Brothers Event," you can see this at http://kochwatch.org

    With this, the medicare programs will be turned into vouchers.

    Again, I really don't think he or the other republicans think they know who they are dealing with when it comes to the people of the bible belt communities - seems they are using the movie Wall Street as showings, when they should be having viewings of the movie "Betrayed," with Tom Berrenger and Debra Winger - this shows what happens when politicans don't do what their constituents of militia/sovereign citizen type bible belt communities want and take advantage of the voters in order to get elected. Afterall, these groups grew in large numbers over the past decade.

    These christian conservatives are expecting the GOP to do the right thing, and if they 'hold their nose,' to vote for the party's choice due to radio pundits...I can just imagine what's the outcome when they finally have had enough. Even more so that they have really gotten their base so angry and talks of revolution, I believe they are going to go for the people who lied to them first. I hate saying what I said in the above paragraph, but, the GOP have really lost their way, and their base usually say about the GOP, "their not crazy."

  • SKM on January 21, 2012 4:08 PM:

    Bigtuna,

    I had heard that Willard is not going to release his tax returns. It is said that Willard tricked Kennedy into releasing his returns, but Willard never released his.

    In other words, he will tell people if they release their personal information, then he will do it.

    This is a problem. He said a few days ago he likes his privacy. Well, when you are in the White House, you have NO privacy. What is this guy thinking?

  • MikeBoyScout on January 21, 2012 4:31 PM:

    I suspect Willard will do better in FL, but I wonder how long it will take after the choices become the ever more unlikable Romney vs. the despised Gingrich for the hue and cry for 2012 version of Fred Thompson.

    Nobody likes these guys and the longer this goes, the more they all remind America how much they don't like them. Guess that's a win for democratic federalism.

  • majun on January 21, 2012 4:53 PM:

    "He was leading in Iowa, but after he spent more time in the state, Romney’s edge disappeared. He was leading in South Carolina, but after campaigning aggressively in the state, Romney’s advantage disappeared here, too. Even in New Hampshire, Romney won with relative ease, but polls conducted a week before the primary showed him with a bigger lead than what he ended up with."

    That pretty much sums up the problem. Romney is one of those people that, the more you get to know him, the more you dislike him. All surface - no substance.

    The problem is, for the rest of the GOP field much the same is true.

    With Europe teetering at the edge of the abyss, and the domestic economy struggling back onto its legs with all the confidence of a new born foal, Obama's re-election is anything but certain. But if economic conditions continue to improve - even incrementally - he will be a hard man for any of the supposed GOP challengers to beat. Even if things essentially remain the same for the next 10 months it will take more than any of the potential challengers are showing now to beat him. The question then is what effect the defeat of the GOP candidate will have on the party and leadership? A Romney candidacy and defeat will leave the status quo largely intact. The defeat, no matter how decisive, will be interpreted as the party having not been conservative enough and the hand of whatever is left of the Tea Party Caucus will only be strengthened. Right now the best thing that could happen to this country would be a Santorum nomination (pun intended) and a defeat at the hands of Obama that would rival Nixon/McGovern. Only if the election outcome will drive a stake through the heart of of the Conservative meme that all they need is a true Conservative candidate and the people will flock to their standard, will the country be able to finally recover from the steady - and deadly - rightward drift of the past 30 years.

  • bjobotts on January 21, 2012 4:55 PM:

    Gingrich is the candidate I fear because he is a rabble rouser and bomb thrower. He riles up the anger hate and blame in audiences getting them to express their hatred of liberals and government. He is one of the most antidemocratic candidates I've ever seen ignoring rationality for emotion. I don't care if we're not supposed to mention Nazis of Hitler but this comparison is right on as to how Gingrich thrives on anger and hatred in his followers and I can easily see him encouraging violence to obtain power.

    An egomaniac who thrives on dominance entirely lacking of empathy. Was willing to sell out his position as speaker of the house to get the $10mil being offered him by oil giant to get the embargo lifted on dealing with Iraq. The investigation mysteriously halted when he lost his position for other reasons.

    There is only one reason why Romney has money in off shore accounts...to avoid exposure. Either to get out of paying taxes to a country he wants to be president of or it is being used for illegal activity with other foreign bank account holders. Romney wants to be president but is hiding money in the Cayman Islands??? What are republicans thinking? Oh, that's right...only money and power matter to this party anymore. No such thing as Republican integrity.

    Crowds should not be allowed into debates as this turns the debates into 'a performance'. And please dear God, Please no more debates in megachurches hosted my TV evangelists, please. Religion has no place in governing.

  • Doug on January 21, 2012 5:15 PM:

    Someone may have beaten me to it, but Romney is merely the Republicans 21st century version of Thomas A. Dewey.
    Except that Dewey would probably have been a decent enough President...

  • liam foote on January 21, 2012 5:40 PM:

    It should also be noted that Gov. Romney's approval ratings sank significantly in MA throughout his term. The more you see, the less you like.

    This reminds me of a stopover in an airport lounge where Sen. Kerry was featured on the news. A fellow passenger turned to her friend and said, "I don't know ... I just don't like him."

    That is the Romney problem and why he will never be the GOP candidate for president.

  • MNRD on January 21, 2012 5:50 PM:

    "Romney wants to be president but is hiding money in the Cayman Islands???"

    It's called entitlement. Romney's sense of entitlement runs so deep that despite the fact that he's been running for President for the past 6 years, it never occurred to him to set up his finances in a manner that would not be disqualifying. Romney is panicking because he has suddenly realized that his sense of greed and entitlement is about to doom his chances of becoming President.

    Also note that Romney's surrogates are now in such a panic that they are admitting that it never occurred to Romney that the voters might ask to be given an accounting of Romney's tax returns and finances!!!! In order to try to push back on the growing suspicion that Romney is hiding a disqualifying skeleton in his financial closet, Romney's surrogates are arguing that Romney is so out-of-touch that he never imagined that the way he has filed his taxes and set up his finances might be an issue!!

  • Daryl McCullough on January 21, 2012 6:03 PM:

    I'm sure there are many mistakes that Romney has made, and that personal likability might have something to do with it, but I think the primary reason Romney is having trouble is that the Tea Party has pushed a large fraction of the Republican voters over the edge, and will not be satisfied with anyone who is not a fire-breathing right-wing nutjob. Romney can pretend to be that candidate, but his heart isn't in it.

  • bob h on January 21, 2012 7:05 PM:

    The most important impression I have of Mitt is his shallowness. There is little that is intelligent, nuanced, sophisticated, in what he has to say on the trail. And that is consistent with the unbelievable shallowness of American business leadership.

  • Cha on January 22, 2012 2:05 AM:

    Willard the mendacious ratfucker is a sociopathic, pathological liar. I want to know why the Mormons are giving him a pass? Or is that part of their dogma?

  • David in Cambridge on January 22, 2012 3:27 AM:

    "Willard the mendacious ratfucker is a sociopathic, pathological liar."

    Nonsense. Romney is neither sociopathic, nor a ratfucker.

    He is, however, a mendacious, pathological liar. But every time he tells a real whopper, he lets forth with a nervous laugh. Watch closely. I believe this is a subliminal cue that voters are picking up on, explains why the more they see him, the less they trust him.

  • SKM on January 22, 2012 4:46 AM:

    Not sure what to know of all of this, but, Willard was giving thousands of dollars to conservative groups through one of his trusts. So, one may think maybe as the other candidates says, Willard is trying to buy the election.

    The other could be, maybe the conservatives are ready or trying to take down the Mormons in general - through infiltration, such as could be the reason that NSM member (don't know if he is still a member or former member) JT Ready converted to Mormonism. This would explain why Willard don't want to release tax returns as he didn't release in Massachusetts when he was governor, and bought/removed government computers. It may not have anything to do with Democrats having something to use against him, it may have to do with conservatives having access and possibly taking what he have.

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