Mittstant Replay; Updated: Erick Erickson’s Take

Jon Huntsman, who’s still running for president, released a great campaign ad today.  Enjoy:

The ad is based on Romney’s recent interview with Bret Baier in which Romney found it “unusual” that Baier deigned to question Romney’s consistency, among other things, on a host of issues.   Romney came across as a peevish child who couldn’t believe he was being inconvenienced with having to answer questions about the multiple positions he’s held on too many issues to count.  Jonathan Chait noted that Romney continuously refused “to explain how he would treat illegal immigrants already in the country, and covering his evasions with chippiness and forced laughter that seemed to reflect his essential phoniness.” George Neumayr at the American Spectator captured just how bad the Mittster came across:

Behaving like a thin-skinned pol didn’t lend any credence to Romney’s claim during the interview that he is the refreshing outsider in the race. Newt Gingrich is a “good man,” Romney said, then implied in the next breath that the former Speaker of the House is a crooked beltway insider. Newt is a “lifelong politician” who comes from a different “background,” Romney continued, as if the taint of D.C. politics is somehow worse than the taint of liberal Massachusetts politics. Playing the purist is a bold and novel tack for a former governor whose political career has been largely defined by useful compromises.

Asked about his stance on deporting illegal immigrants, Romney just evaded the question, even as he suggested Gingrich is wrong to oppose it for settled ones. Romney did say that they should go to the “back of the line” but didn’t spell out where the line would start.

Annoyed at the charge that he lacks core convictions, Romney advertised his strongest wrong-headed one — that the wisdom of Romneycare shouldn’t be questioned. He is very proud of it. Yet coexisting with this pride is his implausible insistence that he wouldn’t want it imposed on any other state and that he never held it out as a “model” to anyone. (Baier was scolded for suggesting that too.)

Romney’s frustration with Baier was no doubt a projection of his frustration with conservative primary voters who remain unimpressed by him despite slim offerings elsewhere in the GOP field. Romney upbraided Baier for going down a list of his flip-flops and attempted to correct him in a patronizing manner — “We” need better information, he admonished Baier. Baier had said nothing inaccurate. If anything, his list could have been expanded. Romney accused Baier of listening to “snippets” of Democratic ads. Romney dismissed his reversals on issues like abortion as the standard evolution of any worthy leader, generously placing himself in the company of Ronald Reagan.

After the interview, Romney told Baier his questions were “overly aggressive and “uncalled for”.  Really?  Watch the interview.  Which questions by the mild-mannered Baier were either? Nobody that I’m aware of has ever compared Bret Baier to, for example, Keith Olbermann or Chris Tingle. (Incidentally Baier was right, Romney did in fact suggest RomneyCare would “be a model for the nation“)

I continue to be amazed that Huntsman, who has no chance of winning, is the only Republican candidate willing to go after Romney for the multiple irreconcilable positions he’s taken on most major issues of the day.  Today’s “Mittstant Replay” ad follows another clever ad Huntsman’s campaign released last month, “Scared Mittless“, which lampooned Mitt’s assiduous avoidance of media interviews and other unscripted moments.  Presumably, Romney’s army of handlers who crafted this media avoidance strategy know him pretty well.  After watching the Mittster’s performance with Bret Baier, maybe they’re on to something.

Update: Erick Erickson has an interesting take on the Mittster’s difficulties:

…suddenly Mitt Romney thinks it is uncalled for to ask him why he has changed his position on so many issues so often around the time he begins a quest for a different political office?!  If reasonable questions from a Fox News reporter are “uncalled for” and “unusual,” there may not be big boy pants big enough to hold Mitt Romney and his tears once the mainstream media starts asking him the questions he has so far done his level best to avoid.

I think what we are seeing is that Mitt Romney did not truly get vetted in 2008.  Remember, Giuliani was in first place and the media fixated him until he started to collapse.  Then McCain and Romney both started rising and the media was so orgasmic over McCain as the comeback kid they ignored Romney until just as they were turning their gaze to Romney a guy named Huckabee took off like a rocket.  It became all Huckabee all the time.

This time around, the race has been so fluid and so many have bounced ahead of Mitt Romney, he’s largely avoided the TSA/MSM pat down.  Hell, everyone figured they could just do it in the general election.

But now Mitt Romney is having to get out there because people are starting to notice he is avoiding tough questions.  And it seems more and more the man just cannot take the daily grind of people asking him about . . .wait for it . . . wait for it . . . . . . his record.

Erickson has a point.  Thus far Mitt has avoided the vetting process by hiding behind his “inevitability” argument, pretending he’s above answering questions about his decidedly erratic — and laughably non-conservative — record.  If he becomes the nominee, all those questions that he insists have been asked and answered “hundreds” of times will be asked by a media far less deferential than Bret Baier.  The fact is Mitt hasn’t satisfactorily answered any of them, and that’s why they always get asked on those rare occasions he grants an interview.



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