Posts Tagged ‘associated press’
“WASHINGTON (AP) — A campaign fundraising report shows Republican presidential dropout Mitt Romney lent himself $7 million last month. That means Romney spent more than $42 million of his personal fortune on his failed campaign,” writes Jim Kuhnhenn in an Associated Press transmission titled Romney Lent His Campaign $7M in January
The former venture capitalist and Massachusetts governor finished January with nearly $9 million in the bank. But more than $3 million of those funds must be returned to donors because they were earmarked for the general election […]
[…] “Before abandoning his bid to become president, Mitt Romney put in at least $42.3 million of his own money, a big chunk of the $97 million he spent on the campaign,” writes the entire staff of the Boston Globe in an article titled Romney spent $42.3m of own money; McCain reports raising $49m
His campaign reported to the Federal Election Commission yesterday that he loaned his campaign $6.95 million during January to reach that total.
The former Massachusetts governor’s total self-financing puts him ahead of Steve Forbes, the publisher who spent $38 million on his unsuccessful run for the GOP nomination in 1996, but shy of the $63.5 million that H. Ross Perot spent on his 1992 third-party presidential campaign.
Romney’s total loan also equates to about $167,000 for each of the 253 delegates he won before suspending his campaign. By suspending his bid, Romney, who made an estimated $250 million as a venture capitalist, can keep raising money to possibly pay himself back.
Romney also reported raising $9.7 million last month, bringing his campaign total to $63.6 million.
That total is appreciably more than that raised by John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee whom Romney endorsed last week. McCain received contributions totaling about $49 million and borrowed nearly $4 million more by the end of last month.
During January, McCain raised $11.7 million and borrowed $950,000, his campaign reported to the FEC. After he emerged as the front-runner, he raised nearly twice as much in January than during the previous three months combined […]
Conclusion: Romney dominated the field with his own money and his fund raising prowess. Yet he still failed. More evidence of Romney’s preposterously low ROI for his every campaign dollar.
“Mitt Romney backpedaled Tuesday after saying former Sen. Bob Dole is ‘probably the last person I would have wanted to have write a letter for me,'” write Carl Cameron, Shushannah Walshe, and the Associated Press in a http://www.foxnews.com release titled Romney Backpedals Over Bob Dole Comments
Romney made the remark in response to a letter Dole wrote to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh in defense of Romney rival John McCain.
Romney even tried to call Dole, with no luck, from the plane as he and other candidates criss-crossed the country to campaign while voters in the 24 Super Tuesday states cast their ballots for both parties.
“Let me make it very clear. Senator Dole is an American hero, a war hero, a fine man and a great leader for our party,” Romney said in Charleston, W.Va., where GOP voters were a holding a state convention Tuesday […]
[…] In Charleston, Romney said his comment on Dole was only meant to point out that “the selection of our nominee based on someone having served in the Senate a long time … did not do well for us in that election.”
He said he was referring to “that aspect,” not Dole specifically, when he made his comments.
Romney and McCain have been tireless in accusing each other of being soft on key GOP issues, and with McCain leading in most of the Super Tuesday states Romney has been fighting to stay competitive. The former Massachusetts governor was logging more than 5,000 miles as he undertook a 37-hour coast-to-coast tour in the 21 states holding GOP contests Tuesday […]
“A memo from a senior strategist for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says that the media are ready to give the Republican nomination to Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), but if Romney can attract more conservatives, he will win the nomination,” writes Sam Youngman in a TheHill.com analytical fantasia titled Romney memo says media ‘ready to anoint McCain’
“We still have an uphill battle in front of us,” Romney strategist Alex Gage wrote in the memo. “The mainstream media is (sic) ready to anoint John McCain and he will have advantages in many states running for president for the past eight years – but Gov. Romney has a clear path to victory on February 5th and beyond.”
The memo, obtained by The Hill, outlines how McCain has failed to win over conservative voters in the states that have voted so far, and it details how Romney could have won if only a few more percentage points of that bloc had come over.
“The coalitions that John McCain assembled in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida have been strikingly similar – and are strikingly tenuous,” Gage wrote […]
[…] The memo goes on to say that Romney and McCain “are now in a two-man race and a few points’ movement among conservatives is all that’s needed to tip the scales in favor of Gov. Romney.”
Gage writes that in the early three states McCain won, his margin of victory was the result of the support of moderates, independents and voters that disapprove of the Bush administration.
“None of these groups is a majority of the Republican electorate,” Gage wrote, adding that this is the reason “McCain has failed to win more than 36 percent of the vote in any of them” […]
Gage’s conclusions are based on an emerging fixed point in the discussion. Sen. McCain can reach across party lines to build issues coalitions; Romney can win the base. Chris Suellentrop develops the data coming out of Florida’s contest to arrive at a similar conclusion:
[…] In short, Mitt Romney won the Republican Party’s idea of itself and that, too, is a big deal. If you’re white, Protestant, anti-abortion, go to church on Sundays, think well of the President, want lower taxes, hate terrorists, make a good living, want to do something about immigration, and live in Florida, chances are you voted Romney. The question before Florida was whether McCain could win a closed Republican race, and now we know he can. The question now is whether he can win conservatives and in Florida, he did not […]
Here, for Romney, begins what we earlier called the race to the base.
Hence Romney’s sudden volte face on whether to mount a last ditch advertising salvo. On January 30 David Espo of the AP reported that “Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney signaled Wednesday he’s not ready to finance a costly campaign in the states holding primaries and caucuses next week.”
By February 1 Dan Morain and Scott Martelle of the LA Times issued the headline: Romney launches Super Tuesday ad barrage; The multimillion-dollar campaign in far-flung states, he hopes, will help him regain the edge he’s losing to McCain. Experts question whether ads will help at this point
[…] Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney launched a multimillion-dollar purchase of television ads Thursday, in a last-ditch effort to remain competitive with GOP presidential front-runner John McCain in the Super Tuesday contests.
Sources familiar with Romney’s plans said the ad buy would exceed $1 million in California alone, enough to give the former Massachusetts governor a presence in much of the state. Romney also was expected to spread some money around to some of the other 20 states holding GOP primaries or caucuses Tuesday, though experts question whether the late advertising would have any impact.
“I don’t think it’s possible to flood the airwaves in 22 states,” Romney said, but he nevertheless authorized “a seven-figure — I won’t give you the exact number — but a seven-figure advertising buy for our campaign.”
After a series of single-state contests in which voters could shake candidates’ hands, the Republican presidential nomination could be decided by millions of voters casting their ballots after having seen the candidates only in advertisements or news reports.
Those political ads depend on candidates’ ability to pay for them, and with the fields in both parties dwindling this week, the surviving candidates looked to pick up the support of former candidates’ fundraisers and bundlers […]
Can Romney pull off this last chance, high-stakes, 11th hour, and super-expensive gambit? Can Romney secure his nomination and destroy the GOP? Keep watching the skies. Or the airwaves.
Haven’t we all been here before?
That didn’t take long!—Romney drops all pretense of any commitment to conservative values or principles—now argues that “it‘s time for Washington — Republican and Democrat — to have a leader who will fight to make sure we resolve the issues rather than continuously look for partisan opportunity for score-settling” etc.
Romney as reported by Glen Johnson of the AP:
[…] I think it‘s time for Washington — Republican and Democrat — to have a leader who will fight to make sure we resolve the issues rather than continuously look for partisan opportunity for score-settling and for opportunities to link closer to lobbyists,” Romney said during a news conference […]
[…] The multimillionaire [Romney] points to the more than $17 million in personal funds he has spent on the campaign and his public fundraising as proof he can govern free of Washington‘s special influences […]
We comment on the naive and intuitive “third way” rhetoric of US self-funded, outsider campaigns elsewhere:
[…] U.S. self-funded outsider campaigns tend to articulate themselves in an intuitive, naive “third way,” “beyond right and left” rhetoric that describes a polity or a society, in weirdly medieval way, as an organic whole comprised of various components, e.g. towns, guilds, fueds, church, estates etc. Ross Perot and Romney both speak of “bringing together” government, labor, corporate interests, engineers, specialists, communities etc. to develop the consensus necessary to support policy solutions. Social problems become technical problems. Political questions become adminstrative tasks—e.g. Romney’s now infamous to-do list for Washington […]
We wonder how the super-geniuses at the National Review—the knuckle draggers who endorsed Romney because of his—snarf!—guffaw!—steadfast and constant commitment to conservative principles—cough!—choke!—will explain away this. Ponnuru? Get to work.
When someone lies to us unabashedly it offends us. It is an insult to our intelligence when someone tells us that up is down or darkness is light. Now: Imagine the plight of the poor journalists assigned to follow the Romney campaign—those forced to endure one assault upon brute fact after another—as you watch this painful video.
From CBS News’ Scott Conroy:
“I don’t have lobbyists running my campaign,” Romney said. “I don’t have lobbyists that are tied to my … ”
“That’s not true, governor!” Johnson suddenly interjected. “That is not true. Ron Kaufman is a lobbyist.”
Romney then issues a strained distinction to resolve the contradiction, a distinction that hinges on the term “run” (this quote is from Mike Allen of the Politico.com—the emphasis is ours, all ours):
“Did you hear what I said — did you hear what I said, Glen?” Romney replied. “I said, ‘I don’t have lobbyists running my campaign,’ and he’s not running my campaign. He’s an adviser. And the person who runs my campaign is [campaign manager] Beth Myers, and I have a whole staff of deputy campaign managers.”
Apparently some woman named Beth Myers and her many deputies run Romney’s campaign, as she is Romney’s campaign director. And apparently what Romney meant by “running” was “running” in the technical sense of campaign administration.
Here be the problem: If this technical sense of the term “running”—as in plotting strategy, scheduling appearances etc., the sort of work that a campaign director would do—is the sense in which Romney meant that he had no lobbyists “running his campaign,” then no one, not anyone whether Republican or Democrat has lobbyists “running” their campaigns and Romney’s claim is meaningless on its face. It would be as meaningful saying that bears do not ride bicycles in the Romney campaign. (Well, do bears ride bicycles in any campaign?)
The Boston Herald’s Ms. Jessica Van Sack makes the case more elegantly:
[…] Romney’s argument basically came down to this: Kaufman’s not running my campaign – therefore, lobbyists don’t run my campaign. So, following Romney’s logic, if his campaign director isn’t a lobbyist, and every other campaign worker is a lobbyist, lobbyists still don’t aren’t running his campaign.
Folks, you can’t make this stuff up […]
So Johnson’s rejoinder clearly has merit. Lobbyists do hold positions of influence in the Romney campaign—for example, Ron Kaufman. To insist that lobbyists are not running the Romney campaign in some technical sense is like saying that generals never fight wars; only soldiers fight wars.
We would like to offer a special blessing for the parents, the children, and the loved ones of one Mr. Glen Johnson of the Associated Press, a man possessed of integrity, a man who possesses soul.
“BLUFFTON, S.C. (AP) — Mitt Romney on Wednesday swapped talk of resurrecting the auto industry that helped him in Michigan with a pledge to pay attention to textile and other industrial job losses that have punished the South,” writes the estimable Glen Johnson in an Associated Press article titled Romney Pledges to Save Southern Economy
“You’ve seen it here, in furniture. You’ve seen the textile industry, where Washington watched, saw the jobs go and go,” the Republican presidential contender told a group of senior citizens at the Sun City Hilton Head Retirement Center.
“I’m not willing to declare defeat on any industry where we can be competitive. I’m going to fight for every job,” Romney said […]
Yuh-huh. The protean Willard Milton has transmuted from an un-reconstructed and caricature-cartoon arch-conservative self-described Reaganite to a progressive-populist in the space of a single speech, his speech to the credulous rubes of the Detroit Economics Club, rubes very nearly as credulous and gullible as the dustpan-heads at the National Review who endorsed the hapless candidate, Willard Milton Romney.
Back to Johnson:
Later, during a news conference, the former Massachusetts governor acknowledged he may not always be successful, but he renewed his Rust Belt criticism of rival John McCain for suggesting some automotive jobs will not be replaced.
The Arizona senator has suggested Romney is pandering for votes and ignoring the realities of the global economy.
“Can I guarantee that we’ll be able to protect every industry and every job and be successful keeping every job?” Romney said to reporters. “I don’t think any person can make that guarantee. But I can guarantee that I’ll fight and do my best.”
We discuss the trope of “working hard for the American people” here.
South Carolina votes Saturday, and Romney’s trip south inspired a reassessment of his victory a night earlier in Michigan. That was the state where he was born, Romney’s father served as governor for three terms and where Romney himself pledged to do more than any other candidate to reduce the state’s nation-leading 7.4 percent unemployment rate […]
For more on these sad themes:
- Romney in MI champions big business and big government partnership for the purpose of economic nationalism even as he funds Club for Growth attacks on Gov. Huckabee—oh, the cynicism
- equity sector multi-millionaire Romney now champions the dignity of human labor, completely abandons arch-conservative line for latest version of Romney, Romney the progressive-populist
As we wrote elsewhere of this latest Romney incarnation:
[…] After humiliating defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire, Romney in Michigan finally develops a winning formula. It is a formula consistent with Romney’s risibly low ROI as it allows the hapless candidate to offload his astronomical costs on others. It is simply this: political spoil in its most primitive form. It takes this shape: Promise key sectors of the economy unlimited subsidies from the public treasury […]
“Imagine if John McCain had narrowly lost to Mitt Romney in New Hampshire last night, and, when you down broke down the results, it was clear that the voters most concerned about the war in Iraq and terrorism went heavily for Romney—plus thought he would make a better commander in chief,” writes James Pethokoukis in a USNews.com blog burst titled Struggling Romney Needs an ‘Oprah Moment’ to Win
That would kind of kill McCain’s whole rationale for running, don’tcha think?
Well, that is pretty much what did happen, except in reverse. Voters who were most concerned about the economy went strongly—41 to 21 percent—for McCain over Romney, the multimillionaire venture capitalist. The Wall Street legend. The guy with the M.B.A. The guy who turned around the Salt Lake City Olympics. The guy who says, “I know how the economy works.” Even worse, Romney lost to a fellow who has admitted in the past that economic policy is not his strong suit and that he might need more of an expert as his veep if nominated.
See, the problem with Romney isn’t necessarily that voters don’t like his ideas—such as cutting corporate taxes or eliminating investment taxes for middle-class voters. It’s that voters don’t think he understands their problems. Until that hurdle is overcome, ideas don’t matter.
You have to do politics before you can do policy […]
We concur. The struggle for NH has entered its archival phase. As we wrote before of Iowa, this is when the political community and various media dispute, interpret, or redact he outcomes of the contest.
Team Romney has failed at every task it set for itself. It failed to consolidate the social-conservative base as evidenced by the exit polling from IA and NH. It crucially failed to return clear decisions for Romney in IA and NH. Further, Romney massively-titanically overspent and received precious little in return. How much? Upwards of US$20 million of his own money on top of the US$80 million that he raised, but no one really knows. Tellingly, Team Romney isn’t saying.
Romney now leads in delegates, but by one estimate Romney has spent almost US$1 million dollars per delegate—so the question then becomes, given this preposterously low ROI, just how sustainable is the Romney tribe’s campaign?
This is also when a new discursive front opens up against Romney’s flank as
(a) pressure for Romney to withdraw begins to develop
(b) doubt, dissensus, and discord breakout within Romney’s own ranks.
To address (a) Romney has radically scaled back his operations, particularly his massive and massively ineffective media buys. To address (b) Romney has issued internal memos and issued promises to major financial backers.
“BOSTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has decided to pull his advertising from South Carolina, where he was hoping to take on Mike Huckabee and John McCain, and from Florida, where Rudy Giuliani has been spending time and money,” write Jim Kuhnenn and Glen Johnson in an AP release titled Romney Pulls Ads in SC, Fla.
“We feel the best strategy is to focus our paid messaging in Michigan,” Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said Wednesday.
The decision comes on the heels of back-to-back second-place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire for the former Massachusetts governor. Romney, a multimillionaire who had used some of his own cash, had invested heavily in both states, counting on the two to give him the momentum toward the nomination.
Earlier on Wednesday, Romney had assured his top financial backers that he will win the upcoming Michigan primary, as he and his staff worked to soothe supporters unsettled by his losses in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.
“It’s just getting started,” the presidential contender told hundreds of supporters gathered at a convention center for a followup to the “National Call Day” that raised an unprecedented $6.5 million a year ago
He promised to carry on to Michigan, which votes Jan. 15, as well as Nevada and South Carolina, which vote Jan. 19.
The public spectacle, a rarity for the normally tightly controlled Romney political operation, included appeals for calm from a top financial backer, eBay CEO Meg Whitman, and a top political supporter, former Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri […]
To assuage his paid staff and hirelings in field, Romney’s strategist Alex Gage issued one of his infamous “internal memos.”
Gage’s argument: Despite Romney’s losses and setbacks, “the Republican race remains wide open.” Talking points include:
- Gov. Romney’s message of change generated momentum in New Hampshire.
- Gov. Romney is the best candidate in the Republican field to match up against the Democrats in the fall.
- No other candidate is competitive in as many states as Gov. Romney.
- Gov. Romney has a clear path to victory moving forward.
That the Republican race remains “wide open” is true on its face. The other points in support of a continued Romney candidacy are false or simply meaningless until Romney solves his ROI problem, especially as the campaign transitions to a far more long-term, slow-accumulation-of-delegates strategy. Did e.g. Romney’s message of change generate momentum? No. Or: even if the answer is yes, the outcome of the contest indicates that it was not enough momentum. And how much did Romney spend per day in NH to promulgate his non-momentum message?
Does e.g. Romney have a clear path to victory? Maybe. Perhaps. But at his current spending levels it he would have to blow his entire fortune to pursue it.
What Romney needs, and does not have, is a message that connects with people on the ground—a narrative, a story, something, anything. A successful message could resolve or at least ease his ROI problem. As Pethokoukis argues, what Romney needs is an Oprah moment.
Only Romney needs more than a moment. And Romney’s own moment may have already passed.
[…] “NPR reports that Mitt Romney is shaking up his staff today and taking more control himself,” writes Erick of Redstate.com in a blog burst titled Sources Say
Also, I hear from multiple sources that he has shifted some staff around, pulling people from Florida and sending them to Michigan […]
Loses learn. This is one of the uses of adversity. Not so Team Romney, we used to argue, because Romney’s vast personal fortune insulates Team Romney from the costs of its failures.
But now there is evidence that the Romney is attempting to rationalize its organization and its operations. This could allow them to, you know, develop a message that connects with voters.
“Mitt Romney hasn’t extended his television presence into next week in South Carolina and Florida, an aide confirms,” writes Jonathan Martin of the politico.com in a blog burst titled Mitt not re-upping his S.C. and Fla. TV time
Romney has been on TV for months in both states, owning the airwaves long before his GOP rivals purchased their first spots.
But his multimillion-dollar investment in the two key states that may ultimately decide the GOP nominee has not paid off as he continues to lag behind rivals there.
Spokesman Kevin Madden declined to say whether their decision was based upon strategy or money […]
[…] Ten days before South Carolina and 20 before Florida it’s difficult to see why he’d go dark in either crucial state, unless he’s decided to limit how much of his own cash he’s using on what has so far been a disappointing campaign.
UPDATE: Another indication that Romney is easing back on the self-funding — an adviser tells AP’s Glen Johnson that they recognize that their ad campaign wasn’t terribly effective and that now they’re going to focus on earned media. Also known as free media […]
Martin interprets this move as weakness.
We interpret it as strength, amazing strength, strength combined with a stern resolve. Viz.: Romney has the money. So this is not the voice of grim necessity. Rather: This is a rational choice, a sober choice, and the correct choice.
These corrections suggest a more accurate interpretation of the upcoming contests and the players involved. These corrections also suggest a more accurate assessment of what is achievable and for what cost. Here is the money quote from the Glen Jonhson AP article that Martin links to:
[…] Conceding Romney had been hurt by a backlash against the hard-hitting television commercials the former Massachusetts governor ran against Huckabee and McCain, the adviser said the campaign hoped to “get away from the paid media and get more of the earned media.”
The shift would suggest a greater emphasis on generating newspaper, Internet and television coverage, especially in Michigan, where Romney was born and which is next on the primary calendar on Jan. 15. Romney flies to Grand Rapids, Mich., on Wednesday after a fundraiser in Boston […]
A targeted, earned-media strategy will allow Team Romney to correctly assess the effectiveness of their messages. The data and experience that accrues from their efforts can help them increase their ROI and develop more effective messages. They will have at last organized themselves into a learning loop more closely coupled to their audiences and sources of support. They will in the very least be be spending less which will improve their image. In other words, they will have caught up with the other campaigns.
However: In the same article, Johnson also reports this:
[…] Nonetheless, Romney chided McCain and Huckabee for cherry-picking contests, with Huckabee having focused on Iowa while McCain focused on New Hampshire. Romney spent more than $7 million on advertising in each state, and held as many, if not more, events in both places than any of his GOP rivals […]
But reports are that Romney is withdrawing staff from SC and FL to invest in MI. Also: reports indicate that Romney is scaling back his ad buys in SC and FL. In other words, Romney too has learned to cherry-pick. As we have argued elsewhere, what Romney calls “cherry-picking” is the most rational strategy in an election cycle with no clear coalition. Politics specifies itself in space—demography, geography, and ideology all intertwine and pass into one another—to build a coalition from the ground up you need to first establish a regional base.
The other candidates have staked out the parts of the map they want to contest. (The first candidate to recognize and act on the new reality was Mayor Giuliani. His strategy has yet to encounter its first real contest.)
Romney has yet to do that.
But: Evidence indicates that he now moves in that direction.
P.S. Hypothetical questions: What if Romney were to campaign on who he is instead of an invented Romney? What if Romney were to organize a rational and ethical campaign? What if Romney were to cease his grimly negative campaigning?
Answer: the governing assumptions of this web log would be all, and in an instant, overturned. And we would be forced to admit that this was the case or risk being accused of being irrational ourselves. At that moment we truly would become a Blog for Mitt as we would no longer have a case against a Romney presidency.
Question: Is such an outcome even possible?
Go Mitt!—i.e. stop lying, stop shape-shifting, stop sliming other candidates, and stop spending money that you did not raise through your own hard efforts, and go and be our President.
“BOSTON – As a presidential contender, Mitt Romney has the looks, the money and the campaign machine. He also has something of a candor gap,” writes the estimable Glen Johnson for the Associated Press in an article titled Analysis: Romney and candor
When confronted with questions that might conflict with his message of the day or political record, the Republican candidate has shown a tendency to bob and weave or simply dismiss history. He has done so all year, providing an easy target for his opponents.
“If you aren’t being honest in obtaining the job, can we trust you if you get the job?” Romney rival Mike Huckabee asked on Sunday during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
This past week, Romney did it again over questions about whether he was planning to air negative ads — in particular on the subject of illegal immigration — against John McCain. The Arizona senator has been surging in New Hampshire, where Romney is angling for back-to-back victories after a hoped-for win in this week’s Iowa caucuses … etc., etc.
“Two women contacted the Mitt Romney campaign this week, offering their memories of seeing Romney’s father march with Martin Luther King Jr., in Grosse Point Michigan in 1963. Campaign officials were well aware that the women were mistaken,” writes the intrepid, articulate David S. Bernstein in a post titled When A Claim Becomes Offensive available in The Phoenix’s Talking Politics blog.
Yet, they directed those women to tell their stories to a Politico reporter. The motives and memories of the two women are unknown and irrelevant; the motives of the campaign, however, were obvious — to spread information they knew to be untrue, for the good of the candidate.
By getting this story out late on Friday afternoon, heading into the holiday weekend — good luck getting a King historian on the phone before Wednesday — the campaign was pretty well assured that it could keep alive through Christmas their claim that Mitt Romney was mistaken only about “seeing” it, not about it taking place.
Then-governor George Romney did indeed march in Grosse Pointe, on Saturday, June 29, 1963, but Martin Luther King Jr. was not there; he was in New Brunswick, New Jersey, addressing the closing session of the annual New Jersey AFL-CIO labor institute at Rutgers University.
Those facts are indisputable, and quite frankly, the campaign must have known the women’s story would eventually be debunked — few people’s every daily movement has been as closely tracked and documented as King’s. As I write this, I am looking at an article from page E8 of the June 30, 1963 Chicago Tribune, which discusses both events (among other civil-rights actions of the previous day), clearly placing the two men hundreds of miles apart. I also have here the June 30, 1963 San Antonio News, which carries a photo and article about Romney at the Grosse Pointe march; and an AP story about King’s speech in New Jersey …
Note the subtlety, the elegance, and yet the force of Bernstein’s argument:
… Believe me, [the Romneys] know the two men never marched together. This is an attempt to rewrite history. And even if it is a small rewriting, it is offensive.
[The claim that they did march together] is offensive because of people like Russell Peebles.
Peebles is an 88-year-old man, a former resident of Grosse Pointe for 48 years, who was present at both the Grosse Pointe march in 1963, and the MLK speech in Grosse point in 1968 — the event at which the Romney campaign initially insisted Romney and King marched together.
I tried to contact Peebles earlier this week, prior to writing the original article, but we missed each other back-and-forth. Peebles sent me an email today, attesting to the fact that George Romney was at the 1963 march, but not the 1968 speech; and that King was at the 1968 speech, but not the 1963 march.
Peebles, and many others like him, deserve to have the history of what they did told honestly. Changing that history by mistake — which is quite possibly how this began — is unfortunate. Changing that history intentionally — which is what the campaign is doing now — is offensive … etc.
Here is Bernstein’s larger point: The Romneys are undermining the integrity of an historical account—and historical accounts derive from personal accounts, from personal experience, from people, from real, flesh and blood people acting and pursuing their interests in the world. And the integrity of those experiences should matter not just to the Romneys, but to everyone, as we all have a stake in knowing, learning about, and understanding the past.
But wait: Didn’t Romney himself claim that he was speaking “figuratively” when he said that he saw his father march with Martin Luther King Jr.?—how is this exercise anything other than a cynical and pointless act of outrageous vanity on Romney’s part?