Skip to comments.Romney Will be Judged on Actions, Not Coverage
Posted on 09/18/2012 5:12:23 AM PDT by Kaslin
Salena Zito, a reporter with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, watched Mitt Romney's Wednesday morning news conference from a diner in Wisconsin. Customers paid careful attention to the TV as reporters repeatedly asked Romney if he had made a mistake by criticizing President Obama's handling of the embassy crises in Egypt and Libya. The exchanges left no doubt that Romney's questioners thought he had made a mess of the situation.
But Zito found an entirely different reaction in the diner. "People were just floored by the press," she says. "The group was pretty mixed between Obama supporters and Romney supporters, and even the Obama supporters were astonished by how they felt the press was driving the story. One guy said, 'My God, six out of seven questions were the same question.' Another guy said, 'Why aren't they asking him anything serious?'"
What Zito saw was entirely anecdotal; maybe she just found a group of people who coincidentally thought the same thing. But the reactions at the diner raise a question: There's a near-consensus among the political class that Romney made a disastrous error in the embassy matter. But what do actual voters think?
It's too early to know the answer; Scott Rasmussen, who conducts a daily tracking poll on the race, saw no change in Romney's standing on national security issues the night after the controversy broke. (Rasmussen's Wednesday night polling found Romney leading Obama overall for the first time in a week, but by just a single point, 47 percent to 46 percent.) Still, there is no reason to assume the voters as a whole think like a small group of Washington- and New York-based journalists.
Riding a wave of media approval, Obama shows no outward signs of worry about the increasingly volatile situation for Americans in the Middle East. On the same day he announced the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya, and as protesters returned to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, the president flew to Las Vegas for a little campaigning.
Speaking to a group of volunteers, Obama seemed to equate the fight for his re-election with America's long history of fighting for freedom. "The sacrifices that our troops and our diplomats make are obviously very different from the challenges that we face here domestically," the president told his campaign workers. "But like them, you guys are Americans who sense that we can do better than we're doing."
There's no doubt the president has the upper hand when it comes to national security issues. A Fox News poll released Wednesday shows Obama has a huge advantage over Romney on foreign policy; by a margin of 54 percent to 39 percent, voters say Obama can better handle the issue.
Whatever his outer confidence, though, Obama is in a potentially dangerous situation. Americans don't like to see foreign mobs scale the wall of an embassy, tear down the American flag and replace it with an Islamic banner. And they're horrified by the murder of American diplomats. The Obama administration's initial response to trouble in Egypt -- a statement fretting about an Internet video that might hurt Muslim feelings -- really did sound weak and irrelevant.
If troubles continue -- if the Arab Spring continues to unravel -- Obama's policy of restraint could increasingly look like impotence. His much-touted outreach to the Muslim world could look naive and misguided. And Romney's critique of Obama's leadership -- that it has often involved apologizing for past American actions -- could seem more on target.
Already, events in Libya and Egypt invite more scrutiny. The public still doesn't know exactly what transpired in the hours around Stevens' death, nor is much known about the nature of American security measures, other than they were obviously inadequate. The final story might not reflect well on the administration.
As far as the storm over media coverage is concerned, the fact is that actual events, and not campaign reporting, will determine the course of public opinion on Obama's foreign policy leadership. Yes, Romney advisers are unhappy with the press. But Obama's policies are being put to a test in a way that no spin can obscure. If Romney has the better proposals, voters will get the idea by Nov. 6.
For years, Romney mapped out a campaign based on economic issues. Barring some enormous, unexpected event, the race is still largely about the economy. But the events of this week have shown Romney how quickly the subject can change, at least for a while. And just like those diners in Wisconsin, voters will be most swayed by the substance, not the coverage, of events.
Case closed. Let's move on to Inauguration Day in 2013.
That is exactly what needs to be said.
If Romney would just wake up it would be a good start! He’s running a worse campaign than McLame and almost as bad as Dole. I’m sick and tired of pub candidates being so damn squishy and void of passion or conviction.
And, Obama HAS been judged on HIS actions, and not his color.
Never mind the disastrous foreign policy of Obama. This morning the media is crucifying Romney for telling the truth in a video secretly made by an Obama spy at a Romney fundraiser. Romney said he has no chance of winning over the 47% of people who are dependent on the government checks and that he is concentrating on the Independents.
The media is incensed....and it gets Obama’s failure in the Middle East out of the news as well as getting their obvious bias out of the conversation...a true win-win for the Democrats.
Perdsonally, I’m not that upset over how R&R are running the campaign. I think they stay right on target with the message and not at all squishy. I’m not the “fire and brimstone” type in religion or politics. I want the steadfast strength that comes with the confidence of knowing what is the solution and keeping the course. I see the conviction R&R have for fixing this country. I’ll leave the passion and rhetoric to the dims... look where all that has gotten us.
Wrong! We have to have the candidates say this, or that, or the other. Unless they say exactly what each of us says without contradicting himself then he is a loser.
Granted, that’s very difficult, since none of us agree on exactly what they should say.
Worse, we all agree that it would be better for him to say everything we demand than to say anything slightly less hardline which others might prefer to hear him say so they’d feel ok voting for him.
What we need is 100% of the hardcore Freeper vote, and to hell with the election.
He needs to say exactly what he would do, and give some ideas to a solution. Just attacking Obama has not been working. They will pay in hell no matter who is President.
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