Posts Tagged ‘Erin McPike’

“LONDONDERRY, NH — One day after his first appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Romney faced an onslaught of questions from reporters about his answers on the show, as well as from a voter who chastised him for not answering all the questions he was asked,” writes the estimable Erin McPike for msnbc’s FirstRead in a post titled Romney’s Tough Day On The Trail

Asked about why he was mistaken on the show about his non-endorsement from the NRA during his gubernatorial race, Romney explained, “We checked with them again and said, ‘OK, what are the signals here?’ And they said, ‘Well, we didn’t give you the official endorsement,’ but they phone-banked members here around Massachusetts, or in Massachusetts… So it was, a if you will, a support phone bank, not an official endorsement.”

He was also asked about getting emotional at yesterday’s Meet taping — and perhaps a little bit at the event today, too — and he responded, “I’m a normal person. I have emotions.” He went on to explain that he attended more than 40 funerals of those in service while he was governor and said that it was usually quite emotional for him. “I have emotion just like anyone else, but I’m not ashamed of that all.”

As for McCain’s endorsements — from the Des Moines Register, the Boston Globe, and Joe Lieberman — Romney replied, “You know we each get good endorsements. I can’t get them all.”

With New Hampshire senior Sen. Judd Gregg (R) standing right next to him, as he campaigned with Romney all day, the former governor said, “I’m real proud to have Sen. Judd Gregg and his endorsement.” He added, “If I get first choice, I get him.”

Asked if he was surprised by the Register’s choice, he gave an emphatic, “No.” “Look,” he said, annoyed. “You’re going to get lots of endorsements. I was very proud of one I worked hard to get,” naming National Review’s backing of him last week.

The event Romney was hosting at Insight Technology was supposed to be a military-focused event. Romney tends to group his events for a day — or sometimes for a week — around a certain issue area, which usually amounts to just a slightly bigger than usual focus on the area in his stump speech. Despite today’s focus the military, other than a voter who pressed him on Iraq, there was very little on the topic.

Late into the Q&A session, a man in the audience stood up and waved a questionnaire at him, explaining that a woman distributing them was escorted out of the room and had been told she wasn’t welcome at his event. He then asked if Romney supported that sort of thing, and if he would answer all questions.

Romney kept stating that he believed he answered the man by saying he answers questions. “I was on Meet the Press yesterday, for Pete’s sake.” Finally, he took the paper and indulged the man by speed-reading three questions and answering them, but he was visibly irritated.

The first question was about the cost of the war, and Romney fired back an answer he’s given before about his bigger concern with the war is the cost in lives, not dollars. “I don’t want to get out of Iraq to save money; I want to get out of Iraq to save lives,” he concluded.

There was another question about nuclear weapons, and he said he had spoken with Henry Kissinger yesterday, and he stressed that now is not the time for the United States to rid itself of nuclear arms, pointing out his lack of confidence in Kim Jong-Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinehad to completely denounce nuclear weapons in their own countries … etc.

Yes, OK., but Romney has never connected well with his audiences. See:

Rubin: Romney “doesn’t seem to like his audience much, and they don’t like him”

Get it together, Boy Romney. You need to convince these people that you do not loath and despise them—and fast.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.


“DES MOINES, Iowa — Romney got aggressive with reporters after a military-focused event early this afternoon,” writes NBC/NJ’s Erin McPike in a FirstRead post titled Testy Romney Press Conference

Several times Romney tried to move on from reporters trying to ask follow-ups or not take certain questions in one of the largest and testiest gaggles he’s had on the trail. He was deluged with questions about his speech, and specifically about the line, “freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom.”

“It was a speech on faith in America, first of all,” Romney said. He said he was paraphrasing what John Adams and George Washington have said and added that “For a nation like ours to be great and to thrive, that our constitution was written for people of faith, and religion is a very extraordinary element and very necessary foundation for our nation. I believe that’s the case.”
Near the end of press conference here after an Ask Mitt Anything town hall, he was asked if he thought a non-spiritual person could be a free person, and he returned with: “Of course not, that’s not what I said.” Pressed again about the freedom requiring religion line, he said, “I was talking about the nation.”
He was also pressed about the politics of his speech and reiterated, “You know, that’s not what the speech was about,” and then again said it was about the role of faith in America …

Marc Ambinder describes Romney’s meltdown a little differently:

DES MOINES — Maybe it was a way of saying, “Welcome to the Big Time.” Mitt Romney held his first media avail — we like to shorten words like “availability,” which itself is a fancy word for “press conference” shortly after a stop at Ft. Des Moines, where Ronald Reagan became a 2nd lieutenant. The questions came fast and none were softballs.

Matt Stuart of ABC News wanted to know why Romney excluded people of no faith from his “freedom requires religion” formulation. Romney was a little testy, explaining that he meant that religion seeded the value of freedom for the country.

Jonathan Martin asked Romney whether he thought his speech would help calm evangelical concerns in Iowa. Romney wouldn’t bite …

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

“POLK COUNTY, Iowa – Romney this morning suggested that he believes the GOP primary is going to come down to Giuliani and a more conservative candidate,” writes NBC/NJ’s rising star, Erin McPike, in an MSNBC FirstRead post titled 2-MAN RACE: RUDY V. THE CONSERVATIVE?

… “I think it’s going to come down to two folks in my view if you look at what’s happening with the nomination on our side,” he said of the Republican primary race this morning in an answer to a woman, who said she had left the GOP and asked what the Republicans can do to appeal to a broader range of voters. “And one of the two is going to be somebody who has adopted social issues that are far more like Sen. Clinton’s. And someone who is in favor of or who has fought the line-item veto all the way to the Supreme Court.” He added, “I don’t think that’s the right course for our party. It might help us do better in states where we might lose by a smaller margin. But we would still lose” …

A woman says that she left the GOP and asks how Republicans can broaden their apeal. Romney passes over her question. More precisely, he reverses her question—he inverts it. The question he answers is how can the Republicans strategically narrow their appeal to target the traditional GOP base. Regard: Romney concludes that the GOP primary process will deliver two figures in direct opposition,

(a) a candidate who appeals across party lines although not enough to achieve victory in any blue states


(b) and a candidate who is more conservative

But Romney couldn’t deliver his lines with a straight face. Incredulous reporters forced him to back away from his laughable claims. Back to the estimable McPike’s account of the event:

… Later with reporters, he backed off a little on insinuating that he sees the race as a two-man contest between him and Giuliani. He said he hopes he becomes the choice of the Reagan coalition — the alternative to Giuliani. He pointed out that he has raised $5 million more than Giuliani, but his campaign later said it was closer to $3 million in primary dollars … etc., etc.

So Romney is already flip-flopping on his 2-man race theme?—Romney’s turn-around time from declaration to a flat reversal or complete retreat from his declaration grows ever shorter.

This is not the first time Romney has pressed his 2-man race theme with risible results.

Romney: Giuliani is distinct and enjoys the support of a coherent base, in which a confused Romney issues the formula, “We have to be distinct. We have to act like Republicans.” Translation: be distinct, like me. But isn’t this a contradiction? Worse: isn’t this a double-bind, like “be spontaneous”?

yours &c.
dr. g.d.

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“SPARKS, Nev. – Ron Paul won the GOP presidential straw poll conducted by organizers at the Conservative Leadership Conference held at the Nugget Casino this weekend ‘by a large margin,'” according to an organizer, writes the estimable Chuck Todd based on field notes and text messages from NBC/NJ’s Erin McPike in an msnbc FIRST READ: the day in politics post titled Despite Showing Up In Person, Romney Loses Nev. Straw Poll.

Paul won with 32 percent, McCain came in second with 17 percent, Hunter was third with 15 percent, and “Romney was in the lower numbers because people came out for his event but they just didn’t vote for him,” according to organizer and McCain operative Paul Jackson.

Although many of the Republican presidential teams had surrogates representing them at the conference, Mitt Romney and Duncan Hunter were the only candidates to speak at the conference, and the victor himself was not there.

Libertarian sentiment dominated the conference, and a number of attendees expressed disappointment with the Republican Party for not catering to many of their views. Several speakers explained that they were looking to move on, echoing much of the discontent that came out of the meeting of the Council for National Policy in Salt Lake City late last month.

In fact, American Target Advertising Chairman Richard Viguerie, who said he was part of the strategic meetings in Salt Lake City, said Thursday night that even though he has agreed not to support Giuliani, Thompson or McCain, he’s still not close to declaring support for Romney or any other lower tier candidates because they are still actively and seriously courting conservatives. “Why would we stop the flow of flowers and candy?” he said.

Please note that Romney is counted among the “lower tier candidates.”

Almost on cue, Romney said during his speech the next day to the group, “I’m from the Republican wing of the Republican Party,” eliciting a negative response from some rival campaigns and the Democratic National Committee. The DNC jumped and noted that he stole Chairman Howard Dean’s line from the previous election when he told voters he was “from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” before losing to John Kerrymore [emphasis ours]

Even in person Romney fails to persuade or convince. Or should we write, especially in person?—in any case, Romney is taking hits from all sides, and some of those hits have been below the waterline.

yours &c.
dr. g.d.