Via DrewM, a few days old but worth watching if you missed it this weekend. You may already know some of these stories (the people involved in at least one of them appeared at the convention), but there’s more where this came from. Between the accusations of tax dodging and the infamous Priorities USA ad about that steelworker’s wife who died of cancer, Democrats have worked hard to turn Romney into an American Scrooge. Except, by virtually all accounts I’ve seen, he’s not that guy; between his personal warmth and his charitable giving, he’s more like Scrooge on Christmas morning. The dilemma, per Drew: Should he talk about this stuff on the trail, if only to counter the gargoyle caricature Democrats have drawn of him?
It’s obvious Romney is uncomfortable talking about these kind of things (to his credit) but now that his off the charts debate performance has people giving him a second look (or a first in some cases), I hope the campaign finds a way to make sure people see this stuff. Honestly, I’m not sure Mitt is the best messenger for this. Perhaps having some of these folks on the trail with him or better yet, some ads, would be the most effective way to deliver the message.
I know some people hate this personal stuff and think it should be about plans and experience but politics is personal. There’s no way to know everything a President will have to deal with (George W. Bush didn’t run as a national security guy. Remember the whole “Education President” thing?). Voters, the dreaded “independents” at least, vote on feel, their judgement of the person. Romney has been hurt by the idea that he’s an unfeeling corporate CEO that likes to fire people. There’s obviously plenty of evidence to the contrary but it’s up to Team Romney to tell people about it.
A reader e-mailed me this clip earlier and begged for some public attention for it, believing that evidence of Romney’s character is kryptonite to much of the left’s case against him. I don’t disagree, especially after the flurry of polls this afternoon showing his favorable rating surging after the debate. People who are serious about politics can vote for a candidate they don’t like personally in the name of achieving their policy goals, but low-information voters who don’t have many policy goals to begin with may have a more difficult time. They want to vote for the guy they like; that’s 80 percent of Obama’s campaign strategy right now, or at least it was until last Wednesday night. More of this and more winning debate performances and that strategy becomes harder for the Empty Chair to pull off.