Romney to Floridians: I'm also unemployed

He was joking. Everyone laughed. They got the joke. No harm done.

But let’s never hear this joke again, okay, Romney staffers?

Mitt Romney sat at the head of the table at a coffee shop here on Thursday, listening to a group of unemployed Floridians explain the challenges of looking for work. When they finished, he weighed in with a predicament of his own.

“I should tell my story,” Mr. Romney said. “I’m also unemployed.”

He chuckled. The eight people gathered around him, who had just finished talking about strategies of finding employment in a slow-to-recover economy, joined him in laughter.

“Are you on LinkedIn?” one of the men asked.

“I’m networking,” Mr. Romney replied. “I have my sight on a particular job.”…

“I wish I had a job for everybody,” Mr. Romney said at the end of his discussion. He added, “I may be unemployed for longer than I’d like.”

Any joke about the state of the economy told by a politician is an invitation to disaster. Any joke about the state of the economy told by a politician who’s worth nine figures and is already vulnerable to blue collar/white collar class resentment points to a political death wish. Debbie Downer and the DNC are already trying to make an issue of it, just four days after her own sub-moronic comment about having turned the economy around. They won’t get much traction given all the laughter in the clip, but if one of the voters sitting there with him had freaked out when he said this, the footage would be in constant rotation on cable news tomorrow. He lucked out here, but he won’t always be so lucky. Learn from the mistake.

By the way, if you look carefully, you can already see lefty media memes congealing against Romney just in case he emerges from the field. CNN and Blitzer stick with the evergreen “out of touch” narrative here, but I’ve seen not one, not two, but three different pieces in major publications over the past two days emphasizing his “weirdness” or “awkwardness” on the trail. It’s true, of course, that he’s stiff as a retail politician — that uneasiness feeds into the danger of joking with voters about something as sensitive as unemployment — but I’m curious to see whether they develop it into a full-blown narrative and, if so, how long it takes before it starts showing up as part of their CW in campaign analysis. Think of it as our chance to watch an MSM storyline sprout and grow in real time. It’s a Chia meme!