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Does Mitt Romney Still Have a Chance After the ’47 Percent’ Comment and T-Paw’s Exit?

Posted on the 21 September 2012 by Periscope
Is Romney too rich? Is Romney too rich? Photo credit: Maria Dryfhout / Shutterstock.com

The background

This week, Republican Mitt Romney’s chances of being elected president of the United States took a tumble after left-leaning Mother Jones released secret video footage of Romney slagging off 47 percent of US voters as entitlement-milking “victims”. To make matters worse, a key Romney campaigner, co-chairman Tim Pawlenty, abruptly left his position.

So, now what do Romney’s chances of beating President Barack Obama look like? Not good: A recent Pew survey found that 51 percent of voters would likely cast their ballot for Obama, compared to only 43 percent for Romney. Worse than that for the presidential hopeful, Pew reported, “No previous presidential candidate has been viewed more unfavorably than favorably at this point in a presidential campaign [since] 1988.”

Ouch.

Everyone hates Mitt

John Avlon, writing at The Daily Beast, noted that Romney’s comment “resonated because it reinforced the negative narrative about Mitt as an out-of-touch member of the superrich with little feeling for policy, politics or people”. But already, no one liked Romney: Back in 2008, other Republican hopefuls enjoyed an easy camaraderie, despite the fierce competition – but not Romney. “Instead there was stiff formality and a simmering resentment.” Why? Says Avlon, “[T]his disconnect is rooted in Mitt Romney’s essentially businesslike approach to politics.” He flip-flops because he’s tailoring his message to his audience at the time, and he’s too ambitious. “Overriding personal ambition and not being Barack Obama isn’t enough to earn the Oval Office.”

Worst fears realized: Mitt Romney is too rich

With his 47 percent comment, Romney comes off as “an entitled rich guy with no understanding of how people who aren’t rich actually live”, wrote Ezra Klein at The Washington Post. “He’s a guy who sold his dad’s stock to pay for college, who built an elevator to ensure easier access to his multiple cars and who was able to support his wife’s decision to be a stay-at-home mom. That’s great! That’s the dream. The problem is living the dream has blinded him to other people’s reality…. As president, Romney’s job would be to worry about those people, and to help them. But first he needs to understand what they’re going through.”

Romney can still win

Obama may be ahead, wrote Ramesh Ponnuru at Republican-leaning National Review Online, but he’s not in a position of strength. “Romney’s key weakness — the place where he most needs to improve his performance — is that he isn’t seen as a champion of middle-class interests,” wrote Ponnuru, explaining that Romney needs “to emphasize, again and again, how his agenda would help the vast majority of Americans”, through adverts on his energy policies and his tax reform plans, whilst attacking Obama’s favourable impression of “redistribution.”

The infamous “47 percent” video:

More on the US election

  • The US election according to Google auto-complete
  • Mitt Romney in ‘victims’ gaffe
  • Romney and Obama hit the road

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