I can’t quite believe he meant to be this nasty but her fans at Conservatives 4 Palin are outrageously outraged. Either way, should make for a sweet battle royal in the comments between Mittheads and Palinistas. This is reminiscent, actually, of the last time he mentioned Palin publicly, when at CPAC he made a self-deprecating joke about how much more public interest there is in her than him — while also pointedly noting her absence. I think he’s trying to be self-deprecating here too by deflecting John King’s question about why there aren’t more Republicans on Time’s “most influential” list with a joke about how ugly they all are, but it comes off like he’s calling her a lightweight whose influence derives from her “cuteness.” (Which wouldn’t be the first time a GOP candidate’s made insinuations along those lines.) If she’s the butt of the joke, though, rather than the rest of the GOP, how to explain the mention of Rush here too? Surely Romney isn’t suggesting he’s also on the list for creampuff reasons.

Politico piles on:

“She’s bigger in the media than in reality,” lamented GOP consultant Mike Murphy, a longtime friend and adviser to John McCain.

“Palin,” he said, “is the only Republican politician right now who is interesting, a little different, connected to the last campaign and related to an occasional story in the National Enquirer.”

Another GOP strategist carped, “The media is still obsessed with the Tina Fey impersonations and intra-campaign drama.”…

Palin was initially not included on the Council because she didn’t respond to requests, but Sen. John McCain said in a conference call with reporters that he hoped she would be involved with the group.

“They would rather just ignore Palin,” said Murphy of the GOP mainstream, “but the media won’t let them.”

Of course they’d rather ignore her. They’re trying to nurture a media meme that the party’s finally rebuilding; the last thing they want is to put a spotlight on Palin and then see that meme cannibalized by tabloid stories about Levi Johnston or whatever. Until that business is settled, assuming it ever is, they’re better off keeping their distance. Even so, take Murphy’s warnings with a grain of salt: He’s been a Palin naysayer since the beginning, as well as a longtime advisor to … Mitt Romney.

After you watch, enjoy this amusing clip from C4P slapping Mitt around for his possible insult to Our Lady.