Mitt Romney stumbles -- Don't count him out
Mitt Romney should have at least as much money as Barack Obama for the closing 48 days of the presidential campaign. Polls show him neck and neck with the president in most of the key battleground states, including Florida. And voters overwhelmingly see the country heading in the wrong direction, while unemployment remains north of 8 percent.
To hear many Republicans quietly grumble and pundits imply, however, the election is all but over and Romney blew it.
"Why Barack Obama is winning" was the POLITICO headline Tuesday morning, days after the site for political junkies wrote a virtual Romney campaign obituary featuring anonymous finger pointing and second-guessing among Romney campaign staffers.
No question, the Republican nominee has had a lousy last few weeks.
Clint Eastwood's barely coherent conversation with an empty chair overshadowed Romney's convention speech, which included no mention of America's troops. Then critics from both sides of the aisle criticized Romney's response to the embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya as clumsy and unpresidential.
Now, the liberal outlet Mother Jones has released a secretly recorded videotape of Romney implying to top donors in Boca Raton last spring that Obama's supporters — and nearly half the electorate — are moochers "dependent on government" and who "believe they are victims."
"Romney has had an unbelievably bad stretch," said Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign in 2008. "The process of moving from pixels to clarity is what occurs in a presidential campaign. Who Mitt Romney is, is beginning to fill in in a way that is not positive for him and that is the result of the debacle over the last month."
Gaffes and ham-handed comments are inevitable in grueling presidential campaigns, as Obama showed himself in April 2008, when he was secretly recorded at a fundraiser talking about "bitter" voters who "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them."
Obviously, it's far better to make such a mistake in April than September of an election year, but September is better than October.