Seated around a conference table in a nondescript suburban Virginia office building, a dozen Republican voters shed light on one of the continued mysteries of this election season: What ails Mitt Romney?
Four strong supporters of the tea party movement; a couple of the movement’s critics; a young, male libertarian; several people strongly concerned about traditional values, a Realtor, a sales rep, a couple of bookkeepers, a stay-at-home mother of four — white, with an average age in the mid-40s, the 11 registered Republicans and one independent answering Hart’s questions provided a cross section of the ideologies and occupational groups that define the GOP electorate.
“Family values” “knows how to create jobs” “can handle pressure” were among the compliments the group offered him. But there were also these: “goes with whatever people want to hear” and “no charisma.”
The deeper problem Romney appears to face became evident, however, when Hart posed questions designed to get beyond the traditional “political” attributes and reach more personal connections.
If the candidate were a member of your family, who would he be, Hart asked. Gingrich came first, drawing comparisons to a grandfather, a father, a favorite uncle.
Then came Romney’s turn and far more distant associations: “neighbor,” “cousin” “twice removed.” “Richer than the rest of us, so he wouldn’t come to our events,” said Christine, 38. “The dad who’s never home,” added Chris, 27, and the group’s chief supporter of Ron Paul.
Hart offered another scenario: Imagine the candidate at an airline ticket counter, badly needing to catch a flight. Five people are in line ahead of him, and only one ticket remains. What would the candidate do?
Romney, the group said, would try to buy his way to the front.
Richer than the rest of us, so he wouldn’t come to our events! Oh, my. Not at all good. He’s going to need a lot of help.
On that note, here’s the Statement of Organization from Romney’s SUPERPAC:
Restore Our Future PAC
Re: Form 1, Statement of Organization—Unlimited Contributions
To Whom It May Concern:
This committee intends to make independent expenditures, and consistent with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s decision in SpeechNow v. F E C, it therefore intends to raise funds in unlimited amounts.
This committee will not use those funds to make contributions, whether direct, in-kind, or via coordinated communications, to federal candidates or committees.