Candidate Romney’s huge mistake and other points of distraction: The GOP hopefuls debated this weekend. And, according to CNN’s Candy Crowley, Candidate Romney made a huge mistake!
On Sunday, Crowley interviewed two candidate flacks on State of the Union—one for Romney, one for Gingrich. This was her very first question about the great debate:
CROWLEY (12/11/11): Joining me now from Manchester, New Hampshire, John Sununu, former governor of New Hampshire and a supporter of Mitt Romney. And here in Washington, Bob Walker, a former U.S. congressman who is advising the Gingrich campaign.Wow! Discussing—what else?—the consensus, Crowley said Romney had made a huge mistake! Had he bungled some major policy question? Actually, no! As Crowley proceeded, she played a bit of tape—and showed the world the way our “press corps” “thinks:”
Gentlemen, thank you both for being here. If only because the calendar is closing in on them and because the race still appears to be pretty fluid, it was quite the debate last night. The consensus seems to be, reading some of the analysis, that Newt Gingrich held his own and did very well and that Mitt Romney made a huge mistake.
CROWLEY (continuing directly): So I want to start out just by playing for our viewers something that happened last night in the debate between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney:You can tell Romney is out of touch because of the size of that bet! This was Romney's "huge mistake!" He should have bet twenty dollars! On a lay-away plan!
(begin video clip)
PERRY: I'm just saying, you were for individual mandates, my friend.
ROMNEY: You know what? You've raised that before, Rick. And you're simply wrong.
PERRY: It was true then. And it's true now.
ROMNEY: No. Rick, I'll tell you what, $10,000, $10,000 bet?
PERRY: I'm not in the betting business.
ROMNEY: Oh, OK. OK.
(end video clip)
CROWLEY: Governor Sununu, first to you. This is widely being interpreted as yet another example of Mitt Romney not totally being in touch with the American people. The Democrats are off and running with "what could you do with $10,000?" Your response.
For the record, there is no question that Romney’s comment was a huge mistake. Yesterday, the proffered bet was being discussed on every program we watched. As she continued, Crowley acknowledged that the focus was a bit daft, but she gave an accurate assessment of “the consensus” about the great debate. What made Crowley’s program stand out was the following fact: Both campaign spokesmen, and Crowley herself, admitted that this was basically stupid. This was Walker, the Gingrich flack, admitting how dumb this was:
CROWLEY: Congressman, on a scale of one to 10, how damaging is that kind of clip, which I can assure you is getting played all over the place?What you just heard is the sound of a pol saying this whole thing is stupid. Crowley more or less agreed at various points in the discussion—after raising the "huge mistake" as her opening point of discussion.
WALKER: Well, the fact is that anything that comes out of these debates that ends up being carried in the way that this one is, is going to be harmful. But I agree with John Sununu that there needs to be a focus on the big issues, which is exactly where Newt Gingrich has been throughout this campaign.
That said, this is the way our “press corps” works with respect to debates. They search for some silly, low-IQ moment with which they can discuss the topics they most enjoy discussing. Why didn’t Dukakis punch Bernie Shaw? Why did George Bush look at his watch? Did you hear Gore sigh? (Here—we’ll jack up the volume!) Why wouldn’t McCain look at Obama?
Similar insipid stories are drawn from life on the trail. They could tell that Bush was out of touch because of that newfangled supermarket scanner. They could tell that Kerry was out of touch because he went windsurfing!
These are deeply fatuous life-forms. In the current case, will your lizard brain let you admit it?
Postscript: By the way, what did Romney say in his book? Candy Crowley made no attempt to address or settle that question!
Did Romney flip on the mandate? "The consensus seems to be" that nobody knows or cares!