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Mitt's Gaffe

The talk of Washington today is yet another leaked strategy memo -- this time from the campaign of former Gov. Mitt Romney.

The Boston Globe has the story in all its vivid details.

Kevin Madden, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Republican, dismissed the document -- whose authenticity he refused to verify -- as an "absolute compilation of the conventional wisdom."

The document, which includes 77 PowerPoint slides, details a number of challenges before Romney. He needs to avoid being labeled a flip-flopper, distance himself from Massachusetts and its Democratic symbolism, explain his Mormonism to the broad GOP electorate and play up his successes outside of the political realm.

No duh.

That's not to say there aren't a few salacious tidbits. There is a focus on vilifying France and the European Union. There's also a concern that Romney's mane of hair might be a little too perfect for voters. Or that the best way to differentiate himself from the current president is to harp on Romney's smarts.

Let's take a step back and figure out just how much this matters to the presidential campaign. Would the campaign prefer it not be in public circulation? Of course. Does it contain revelations that derail Romney's chances? Absolutely not.

But it is surprising that this happened to Romney roughly one month after former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani saw one of his campaign documents made public. Mistakes like these are not terribly important. But they can start to matter if they suggest a lack of discipline and a too-large inner circle within a campaign.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 27, 2007; 5:09 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | March 17, 2007 12:19 AM | Report abuse

It's nutty that Romney's team puts "France," "Hillary Clinton," and "Massachusetts" on the same bogeymen list as "jihadism." Does Romney really regard his home state as morally equivalent to al Qaeda? What a sick guy.

Posted by: MassStu | March 1, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, a deals a deal. Who knew what the facts would be 4 years down stream. Bush needed McCain to win in 2004

Posted by: EdA | February 28, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Ed, how would that help McCain? Bush isn't very popular right now, and being associated with him isn't really an advantage. And being VP for a few months wouldn't give McCain enough experience or exposure to give him much leverage in the campaign. Especially since he'll be campaigning the entire time.

Posted by: Blarg | February 28, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Quit wasting your time on who will be the GOP standard bearer. This was decided in late 2003 when McCain cut a deal to get off W's back, and support him unconditionally with a promise to be named VP before the 2008 election, when Cheney would step down due to "health" reasons.

John will run from the catbird's seat as the incumbent VP.

Posted by: EdA | February 28, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"But they can start to matter if they suggest a lack of discipline and a too-large inner circle within a campaign."

In other words, he's getting a pass on this, but if you decide he's too sloppy on something else, all of a sudden Mitt Romney is undisciplined?

Posted by: Terry | February 28, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

'Hersh details how the unintended, yet perfectly predictable, Shiite ascendancy via the Iran/Iraq nexus, now threatens wider US interests in the region, specifically Saudi Arabia. The Bush Administration now accepts the fact that, as Vali Nasr of the CFR quoted by Hersh states, "the biggest threat is Iran and the Sunni radicals are lesser enemies," thus a "victory for the Saudi line". And in keeping with the adage that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, Cheney et al. have resorted to their old tricks learned from the good ole days of Reagan's Iran Contra Guns for Money criminal machinations to organize, finance with embezzled funds, and manage an illegal anti-Iran campaign involving stolen money from Iraq to finance Al-Queda operations against Iranian proxies, namely Hezbollah in Lebanon.

This huge gamble is predicated upon one precious fact: the Saudi royal family believes that as long as they continue to tolerate and finance schools and charities connected to virulently anti-Shiite Sunni extremists, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis, the royal family will be left alone to enjoy its illegitimate rule over the country. The last time the Saudis got into the business of aiding and abetting the Salafis, it spawned Osama Bin Ladin and the creation of Al-Queda in 1988. The Saudis now promise the Bush neocons that this time, they won't let the party get so out of hand that jets are crashed into buildings, and will ensure that the Salafis direct their animus, and most importantly, their explosives against Iranians, Syrians, and their respective proxies, Moqtada al-Sadr and Hezbollah. It is with respect to the struggle to subvert Hezbollah that money and guns are being secretly funnelled, via the US-supported Siniora Government of Lebanon, to Al-Queda through the good offices and efforts of our esteemed Vice President, Dick Cheney.

The Siniora Government is handing out our financial and armed assistance to radical Sunni groups in northern Lebabon, such as Fatah al-Islam and Asbat al-Ansar, with known ties to Al-Queda, as a way of counterbalancing Hezbollah power and influence throughout the country. These groups are known to "hate the Shiites, but hate Americans more." The Sunni majority leader in the Lebanese parliament, Saad Hariri, not only posted bail for four members of a group, the Dinniyeh Islamists, that according to the Crisis Group , "had trained in al-Queda camps in Afghanistan", but also obtained amnesty for 21 of its members convicted for crimes ranging from the bombing of foreign embassies to assasinations of Prime Ministers.'

Posted by: Anonymous | February 28, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

'The LAT, NYT, and WP front, while the WSJ tops its world-wide newsbox with, news that the Bush administration has agreed to join high-level talks with Iran and Syria about the future of Iraq.'

As a young male friend of mine used to say about relationships, 'when all else fails, try to communicate.'

See look, I'm saying something nice about bush. Or more likely condi. If she can actually manage to achieve something with this, I am all for it. About time. During the entire cold war, when we had thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at each other, the US and Russia never stopped talking. And that's why we are alive today.

Posted by: drindl | February 28, 2007 7:57 AM | Report abuse

By the way, I just noticed in the latest Post poll, Mitt's support had declined from 9% on 1/19/07 to 4% on 2/25/07. In fact, that 4% is even lower than his support on 12/11/06 (it was 5% then).

Even when they took out Gingrich, Mitt's support only increased to 5%. Giuliani's, in contrast, went from 44% with Gingrich to 53% without Gingrich.

I think the upshot is pretty clear. Mitt hasn't become a viable alternative to Giuliani in the mind of Republicans. I strongly suspect, therefore, that he will soon get replaced in the #3 spot by someone who represents a greater contrast with Giuliani (maybe Brownback or Huckabee).

Posted by: DTM | February 28, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

I think this leak is more damaging to Mitt than the Giuliani leak because it confirms a piece of CW: that Mitt isn't a serious candidate.

And I have yet to see evidence that very many Republicans view Mitt as a serious candidate.

Posted by: DTM | February 28, 2007 7:35 AM | Report abuse

As Casey Stengel once asked, "Can't any of these guys play this game?" How the hell can we expect either Guiliani or Romney to competently manage national security?

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | February 28, 2007 7:29 AM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please go to:

An Interview with Noam Chomsky

Same thing on health insurance. Here's an issue where, for the general population, it's been the leading domestic issue, or close to it, for years. And there's a consensus for a national healthcare system on the model of other industrial countries, maybe expanding Medicare to everyone or something like that. Well, that's off the agenda, nobody can talk about that. The insurance companies don't like it, the financial industry doesn't like and so on.

Now there's a change taking place. What's happening is that manufacturing industries are beginning to turn to support for it because they're being undermined by the hopelessly inefficient U.S. healthcare system. It's the worst in the industrial world by far, and they have to pay for it. Since it's employer-compensated, in part, their production costs are much higher than those competitors who have a national healthcare system. Take GM. If it produces the same car in Detroit and in Windsor across the border in Canada, it saves, I forget the number, I think over $1000 with the Windsor production because there's a national healthcare system, it's much more efficient, it's much cheaper, it's much more effective.

So the manufacturing industry is starting to press for some kind of national healthcare. Now it's beginning to put it on the agenda. It doesn't matter if the population wants it. What 90% of the population wants would be kind of irrelevant. But if part of the concentration of corporate capital that basically runs the country -- another thing we're not allowed to say but it's obvious -- if part of that sector becomes in favor then the issue moves onto the political agenda.

For the rest please go to:

Posted by: che | February 28, 2007 5:47 AM | Report abuse

Rob--Haha, no! But he should probably watch his back because THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!

Posted by: roo | February 28, 2007 2:13 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I just saw an actual slide. It has a list of "bogeymen, enemies, adversaries he could run against". It includes France, Hillary, taxes, moral relativism....and Massachussetts!

Stop me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Romney governor of Massachussetts? Now there's a guy who knows how to stick up for his constituents.

Note to Romney: When you lose the primaries, try picking up your career in a new state.

It's also cute to see them using the word "bogeymen" when discussing election tactics. Clearly, when talking amongst themselves, GOP operatives make no secret of the fact that they are in the business of implanting fear in childlike minds.

Posted by: OD | February 28, 2007 1:18 AM | Report abuse

hey Roo, you wouldn't happen to mean State Senator Michael Morrissey now would you?? If thats who your talking about, you must be in my general area to know about him.

Posted by: Rob Millette | February 27, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

golgi, i too thought that was interesting. now i expect hillary to drag out bill to campaign for her... we'll see how that plays out. also expect to see her bring out more black supporters who claim obama isn't black enough. it should be interesting.

Posted by: meuphys | February 27, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Well, this didn't take long (pasted paragraphs below from new poll article)...
Wonder if CC will mention this in the Fix. It is really pretty giant, which would tend to get it mentioned by CC. However, it features Obama, which would tend to get it ignored by CC.

Blacks Shift To Obama, Poll Finds
By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, February 28, 2007; Page A01

The opening stages of the campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination have produced a noticeable shift in sentiment among African American voters, who little more than a month ago heavily supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton but now favor the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama.

Clinton, of New York, continues to lead Obama and other rivals in the Democratic contest, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. But her once-sizable margin over the freshman senator from Illinois was sliced in half during the past month largely because of Obama's growing support among black voters.

Posted by: Golgi | February 27, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

meuphys and Truth Hunter: You have given my evening a bunch of good "side splitters" that is so helpful in this dog eat dog of todays world. I think we can all look forward to more of the same in the weeks and months ahead. I really do hope folks will not take this stuff so seriously, but I am sure some will find a way to do just that.

Posted by: lylepink | February 27, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow, a politician that is actually thinking things out, Before making a plan? How unique! The Washington post is slipping - they may have actually mistakenly, reported some news for once. Maybe in a few years they will report some more..

Posted by: Citizen | February 27, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

He is assuming the Steve Forbes role in this presidential race: boat loads of money; prominent family; quirky; empty suit.

Posted by: Nelson | February 27, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Mitt thinks he's better than everyone; that's why he was a lousy governor and that's why he'd be a lousy president.

Posted by: Patrick | February 27, 2007 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Meuphys.... It IS mind-boggling isn't that the supposedly smarter-than-Bush candidates seem oblivious to the possibility of their potential place (and thus our place) in the world politic... but pandering to the anti-France, anti-Europe base.... just who would that be besides Rummy and ????

Can't we do better than this current crop of flip-flopping empty suits?

Posted by: Truth Hunter | February 27, 2007 9:31 PM | Report abuse

CC said: "...There's also a concern that Romney's mane of hair might be a little too perfect for voters."

So Meuphys, it actually isn't the electorate bases who think hair matters, but Romney's campaign!... so I think you are on to something with the bald bit.

Give skinhead Mitt a stick sucker and maybe he can snag the Telly "Who Loves you Baby" wing before McCain thinks of it.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | February 27, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

more seriously, how immature is it to set up france as an enemy to mock in order to make political points - ! does he not realize that, like it or not, the president of france is a major political player in europe with whom he would have to deal seriously as president?

or would he categorically refuse to deal with 'old europe' a la rumsfeld? as the rest of us stand and watch the needle on the tank of international good will rapidly approaching 'empty'... also, does he not realize that russia is fast becoming a major player once again? and he doesn't think we need our traditional friends?

and he's supposed to be smarter than bush?
______ ______ ______

Posted by: meuphys | February 27, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

so i assume a skinhead mitt would pose no real threat? what a relief to know for sure that the american electorate bases its choices on real substantive issues.

(not defending romney, understand, just laughing imagining him bald.)

Posted by: meuphys | February 27, 2007 8:56 PM | Report abuse

"I saw John Edwards and Mitt Romney drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic's ..."

Posted by: Anonymous | February 27, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Charles Coulter.... Thanks for the great laugh!

Posted by: Truth Hunter | February 27, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Roo writes, "Yeah, Mitt's hair will be his downfall. If he ever comes into the same room with Morrissey, an epic battle will ensue.

There can be only one!"

My sentiments exact-amundo! Except Mitt has the Reed Richards distinguished temples thing going as well ... perhaps in a psychic duel, their tempestuous coifs will burst into flame, forever blinding Jim Lehrer, leading Brian Williams to assert that Lehrer now has gravitas, making the feisty PBS guy a surprising insurgent candidate come Iowa.

Posted by: Charles Coulter - Los Angeles | February 27, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Didn't we see this with Rudy a few months ago? No serious matter for Romney's crew; just plenty of laughs and embarrassment.

Posted by: chrisfl | February 27, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Note to the Boston Globe: My Dog wrote that PPT.

Posted by: Justin | February 27, 2007 7:23 PM | Report abuse

anybody know where we can get the full document? i'd love to see it

Posted by: azgop | February 27, 2007 7:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm not too worried about Mitt being the Republican nomination. He's proven himself to be as honest as Clinton, and has the same smarmy edge to him. He's also very condescending. I only worry about his speech pattern; it's that same pattern that Mormon church leaders use in giving annual conference speeches. It's very lulling and falsly reassuring. I think they teach it along with the masonic-like secret handshakes and chants.

Posted by: Bonnie J | February 27, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey Truth, I've seen John Edwards after a day of gutting houses in Katrinaland, LA. His hair was still perfect.

Posted by: aleks | February 27, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

If the hairdo becomes a problem he can have dreadlocks by the election. They might not be his hair's real position, but hey . . .

Posted by: aleks | February 27, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Edwards should give Romney his hair tips.... in 2004 he was a little too perfect and I now notice he is sometimes a little "tousled." Really, some of these candidates are just too precious.

Is the Iraq war anywhere in Mitt "I'll be whomever you want me to be" Romney's talking points?

BTW, Maureen Dowd has summed up the new McCain perfectly. She has been covering his campaign, and said of him, "Sometimes I miss John McCain, even when I'm with him."

Posted by: Truth Hunter | February 27, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Nor' - I'm actually laughing at the mental image of Romney riding a dorky bike with his white shirt, black tie and pants knocking on doors. Most people hide from those weirdos and don't answer the door. LOL (One makes that mistake one time only.)

He's such a phony; I can't stand the idea of him cozying up to the social cons. ralph.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 27, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

proud - A Catholic missionary wouldn't have much success in France.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | February 27, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Romney is undoubtedly smart, so thats a good point to emphasize to differentiate from the current President. And he has had successes outside politics, which given he's only a one term Governor he probably needs to emphasize.

The most interesting point is his targeting of the EU & France. What is he aiming to gain from that?

Can we expect to see McCain's memo leaked, or is he the one causing the leaking? Its hardly coincidental...

Posted by: JayPe | February 27, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps even more interesting than the ridiculous hairstyle is his "mission work" for the Mormon church in...France!
From a former classmate:
"Mitt Romney had about the same success as a Mormon missionary in France as most people had: not much.
I served with him in Bordeaux and Paris off and on for 18 months. A common way of making contacts is by knocking door to door. We would introduce ourselves as missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and could we have a moment of their time. Usually the answer was: "Non, merci."
It was an exercise in humility. But Mitt always knew how to encourage us to keep going. Primarily, he led by example. During our service, some missionaries had begun to feel that in keeping with their ministerial calling, it was inappropriate to laugh out loud very much. Mitt always had a strong laugh and at the time of the proposed laughing ban, he was the top leader in the mission, assistant to the mission president. So he really dispelled the anti-laughing crowd, mostly with his humor. "

Maybe he should include some of these anecdotes in his campaign! Let voters know who the "real Mitt" is.

Posted by: proutobeGOP | February 27, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't Romney's 'mane' of hair [that's so precious] make him the new Breck Girl?

Posted by: drindl | February 27, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

"Romney's mane of hair might be a little too perfect for voters"

Boy, if that doesn't provide fodder for the late night comedians then I don't know what will. Tune in to see what Jon Stewart and others do with this little tidbit.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | February 27, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Mitt's hair will be his downfall. If he ever comes into the same room with Morrissey, an epic battle will ensue.

There can be only one!

Posted by: roo | February 27, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

'But they can start to matter if they suggest a lack of discipline and a too-large inner circle within a campaign.'

how about if they suggest that every single republican candidate is as incompetent as george bush?

as they are... losers, every one.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 27, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

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