"Ha ha. We’re in the stretch aren’t we? Look at those clouds. It’s beautiful," Romney answered, pointing to the sky. "Look at those things."
I suppose the reporters could be thankful Mitt didn't just tell them their shoes were untied, then take off running when they looked down. Meanwhile, Ann Romney's on the radio telling conservative critics to back off:
During an interview with radio Iowa, Ann Romney was asked how she would respond to influential conservative critics like Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.
“Stop it!” she snapped. “You want to try it? Get in the ring.”
Ann Romney added: “This is hard and, you know, it’s an important thing that we’re doing right now and it’s an important election and it is time for all Americans to realize how significant this election is and how lucky we are to have someone with Mitt’s qualifications and experience and know-how to be able to have the opportunity to run this country.”
“It’s nonsense. And the chattering class, they — you know, it’s hard, of course. They don’t — I don’t let it sink in. You hear it and then you just let it go right by. And you’re used to it. Honestly at this point, I’m not surprised by anything.”
So the Romneys and the term "grace under pressure" don't really go together all that well. You've got to wonder how they'll take the news from Nate Silver that President Obama's post-convention bounce is starting to look less like a bounce and more like a legitimate and lasting rise in the polls.
I hope Team Romney keeps Mitt and Ann away from clock towers and rifles.
I would be remiss if I didn't point out that the polls are still very close nationally. But the path to victory is narrowing. Swing states he needs to win are beginning to slip away from him and something's going to have to change to swing them back. Something more substantive that distracting reporters with clouds and telling conservative critics to STFU.
And it's there that Team Romney may find more trouble. The tendency among bad politicians is to face this sort of receding tide with blind panic -- which makes them look even worse. Mitt's already sniping at every word Obama says (and every word he's ever said) and it makes him come off more like a childish and dishonest tattletale than anything else. As is always the case with conservatives, if something's not working, they seem to believe they need to do more of it -- so expect Romney to launch more "But Obama said *INSERT RIDICULOUSLY OUT-OF-CONTEXT STATEMENT HERE*, so Mitt deserves to be president" attacks.
It's not going to be pretty. And it's probably not going to help. And that's been the problem with Romney's campaign all along. It's been all about why Barack Obama shouldn't be president and not about why Mitt Romney should. In the end, Romney's argument for why he should be president has always been, "Look at those clouds. It's beautiful. Look at those things." Now he's just amping that up to eleven.
"Quick, look over there!" is a tactic, not a strategy. And it's certainly no reason to make Mitt Romney president. He's going to have to do better, but I'm not convinced he can. If he could, it seems to me he already would've.