"Sometimes things don't come out exactly the way you'd like them to," he explained. "That's not exactly what I meant to say. My focus is on middle income Americans. We do have a safety net for the very poor, and I said if there are holes in it I want to correct that."
Opponents on the left jumped on it, saying it shows Romney is out of touch.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh noticed, as well. "Everyone knows what he was trying to say," Limbaugh observed, "but he didn't say it. He makes himself a target with this stuff. He comes across at the prototypical rich Republican. ... It's gonna make it harder and harder and harder to go after Obama."
For once, Rush has it right. And wrong.
See, Romney is pretty much cast in stone now as the prototypical aristocrat: wealthy, out of touch, elitist...hell, he's even spent time in France!
Sound familiar? He even flip-flops (only his flip-flops aren't as nuanced as John Kerry's.)
In the primaries, this is a feature, tho: to claim to be for the rich, in Republican jargon, means pro-tax cuts, anti-union, pro-wealth creation, anti-Big Government.
The flaw in the ointment, of course, is the implications of this posture, including a distinct lack of compassion for those whom the American dream has left by the roadside.
Since the fight will be over the two to five percent of true independents-- not those who say they are independent to throw pollsters off, or because they just can't be bothered with political junk mail or what have you-- things like an unChristian attitude towards the poor matter. These are people who aren't ideologues or dogmatic religious types, but who do believe in charity and taking care of those who can't take themselves.
They learned that taking care of the world around them is important and if they made $20 million last year after taxes, they'd do a lot more than tithe to a church. These are the folks who, when they hit the lottery, give a million to the school down the street to make the playground better or to buy computer equipment.
These are the folks who send $10 to the Red Cross the minute a tragedy strikes. They don't need a celebrity or a pastor to tell them to give, they do it, willingly.
Romney's wealth is an ideal for them, but then they assess the character of the man with the money and realize that wealth has created a mean-spirited, spiteful and angry man.
An ABC News/Washington Post survey released last week, for example, found Romney viewed unfavorably by 49 percent of voters and favorably by just 31 percent. Among independents, just 23 percent viewed Romney favorably, compared to 51 percent who felt that way about President Obama.
Which makes Obama's job that much easier. Not that it was that hard to begin with, even with all the disadvantages Obama brings to the table as incumbent (along with the advantages, to be fair.) The field the GOP put out there was ridiculously weak and thin, and partly to blame was their overeagerness to set a candidate in stone early enough to go after Obama for months, not weeks.
Hell, you could hear the fapping in 2010 if you listened closely enough.
But I give Romney credit: at least he hasn't complained.