What’s wrong with Mitt Romney?
In the early stages of this cycle’s Republican nominating process, the former Massachusetts governor seemed confident and sure-footed. Now he seems awkward and defensive.
The strength of his debate performances in the summer and fall allowed him to swat aside challengers including Tim Pawlenty and Rick Perry.
Banishing memories of his halting 2008 campaign-trail persona, Romney propelled himself into a commanding position, victory almost within his grasp.
In recent weeks, however, the socially uncomfortable Romney from 2008 has been on display, and parodied on “Saturday Night Live” for watching football with his “five human sons.”
Romney seems to have gone into a defensive crouch, leaving many Republicans feeling like football fans who watch their team move to a ‘prevent defense’ to protect a fourth-quarter lead and dread losing all of it. Their nerves are being jangled even as they acknowledge that outright disaster has so far been averted.
“For some reason, he has slipped into this ‘I’m trying not to lose’ mode — and that’s when you do lose,” said Republican strategist Keith Appell, who is not aligned with any of this year’s presidential candidates.