When we saw yesterday that Mitt Romney had put out a statement denouncing the debt ceiling agreement, we thought, “Hmm… When was the last time we heard from him?”
Turns out it has been a long time and it was by design. Politico has coined a new term today — the “Mittness Protection Program” — to describe the silence coming from the Romney campaign. Why all the hush-hush? Conservative Republicans have issues with him and he’s prone to gaffes. So if he keeps quiet and under the radar, the thinking goes, it helps his current status as leader among the Republican candidates.
That doesn’t sound right.
“His strategy is clearly to play a lower profile so that he will draw less fire because he’s got a number of issues that he would rather not address,” Burson CEO and former Hillary Clinton adviser Mark Penn told Politico. “The tradeoff on that is if you’re not out there being the frontrunner, it makes it easier for other people to catch up and get some traction with the press and maybe you wind up not the frontrunner.”
“While Romney has always been a political opportunist, this week demonstrates that even when America’s economy is at stake he doesn’t have the courage to stand up to the Tea Party,” former White House deputy press secretary and super PAC founder Bill Burton added.
The Washington Post published a story within the past hour saying that Romney’s people have announced a new phase of the campaign that will continue to go after Obama about jobs and the economy while avoiding big confrontations with his actual Republican opponents. Can you fashion a campaign strategy to dodge your way to success? Seems unlikely.