The big ‘Mitt Romney really, really cares about the little people’ messaging hits another major snag

Have you seen the brand new Mitt Romney ad yet? The one where Mittens tries to show his concern for us average Americans? You know, the little people?

The new commercial has already made its online debut, but as reported by The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, starting Friday, in all of Romney’s media markets, in nine swing states, it will be the only ad they’ll air.

This underscores that the Romney campaign is betting all of its chips on the new approach represented in the minute-long ad, which is about cleaning up the mess made by Romney’s remarks about the freeloading 47 percent, and about reframing the Romney message as a forward looking one. The Dem source says ad buy info indicates that other currently running spots — one hits Obama as soft on China; the other is a positive ad touting Romney’s plan for the middle class — will be replaced by this one

The new ad features Romney speaking directly to the camera; he allows that he and Obama “both care about poor and middle class families.” The size of the buy behind it suggests the Romney campaign sees the need for a major effort to reverse the damage caused by Romney’s disdainful comments about nearly half the country. After a months-long campaign by Dems to paint Romney as uncaring when it comes to working and middle class Americans, video of Romney himself playing to type is potentially devastating. Today’s NYT/CBS poll found that only 38 percent of Ohio voters think Romney cares about the needs and problems of people like them.

The new ad’s acknowledgment that Obama, like him, cares about ordinary Americans also suggests a shift to a somewhat softer approach to the president. While the ad paints a dire picture of the Obama economy, it seems less harsh in tone than Romney messaging that suggests Obama harbors sinister redistributionist leanings that will take away the wealth and health benefits of middle class Americans and hand them out to those other people.Obama’s favorability ratings remain high, and there is no sign swing voters see Obama in the more lurid terms the Romney campaign had been employing, so this may be a shift, too.

The ad also represents a significant reframing of Romney’s message. The previous, backward-looking frame — “are you better off than you were four years ago?” — is replaced in this ad with the forward-looking assertion that we can’t afford another four years like the last four. So the investment in the new spot suggests an admission that the previous framing failed and a heavy bet on this new messaging as his best shot of salvaging his candidacy.

Take a peek, won’t you? I’ll wait. (Note how Romney refers to struggling Americans as if to distance himself from “them,” rhetorically. In the now infamous hidden camera video, he called, uh, “them” “those people.” Richie Mitt just can’t help himself, apparently)

The problem is… Well, the problem is the Democratic rapid response video that really rips the whole high stakes, last resort Romney “I have empathy for ‘them’” rebranding gambit a new asshole.

Imagine for a moment that you are Mitt Romney. Walk a mile in his $3500 hand-made Italian leather shoes. Your team of highly-paid, expereienced campaign professionals have convinced you to go “all in” on just one single very, very important ad to humanize yourself in voters’ eyes and show “them”—“the 47%”—that, oh boy do you really, really care about “them.” All the pre-debate chips are being bet on this one, single commericial that is perceived as the (current) last best hope of turning around one of the all-time worst, most idiotic, painfully inept national political campaigns in all US history. It’s a tall order, but as Sargeant reports, they’re dropping stuff right and left that just didn’t work and placing their hopes on this new 11th hour strategy.

So you’re Romney and you approve this new strategy to show that you’re not a heartless rich bastard like everyone seems to think you are. By George, you’ve got compassion and empathy! This’ll show them!

And then you see the video embedded below. Wouldn’t you just puke blood?

This new anti-Romney commercial is one of the most withering, vicious, nastiest kicks in the nuts that Romney has yet recieved from the Obama camp, and let’s face it, they’ve landed some real body blows already. All of them so far in this election. Now Romney gets to absorb another punch to his throat and his entire ad buy—which hasn’t even started yet—is about to get trumped in the news cycle by this cheap little web video.

It’s hilarious to watch Romney flounder. He seems to have no idea of what to do next. May I politely suggest curling up in a fetal position on the floor?

There’s no schadenfreude quite like Republican schadenfreude, but Romney takes it to a whole ‘nuther level!

Posted by Richard Metzger
11:57 am



comments powered by Disqus