Via the Corner, this is what happens when the big political story on tap for today — a Syriza win in Greece followed by a global market meltdown over the break-up of the eurozone — gets canceled at the last minute, leaving the press to scramble for “news.” Here’s Andrea Mitchell straining to turn this into Mitt’s very own “supermarket scanner” moment, which (as the Corner notes) was a bogus hit on Bush 41 but served the Democratic narrative that Republicans are always and forever “out of touch.” Same here: Romney was taken with the novelty of ordering his sub via touchscreen, mentioned it as part of the wearisome “common ground” small talk that all pols have to engage in when they’re on the trail to warm up the crowd, and now it’s an honest-to-goodness talking point of Obama’s dumb campaign spokesflacks. Second look at a Syriza recount?
I’ve never been to either Wawa or Sheetz and am wholly uninterested in the inevitable Twitter debate over which is better, but I’ll share my own experience with food-service technology that’s completely banal yet also inexplicably captivating. When I was a kid, just a few years before it closed, my dad took me to Horn & Hardart to experience the old-school automat in all its glory. Hundreds of little glass windows with sandwiches or slices of pie on the other side, each coin-operated. It was basically a room-sized vending machine with a team of cooks on the other side of the wall sliding goodies into place as they made them. Even a kid could understand that there’s nothing impressive about that concept — on the contrary, lord knows how long some of those sandwiches were sitting there — but seeing that cornucopia laid out before you and knowing that you could have any of it instantly made it downright amazing. That’s what Romney’s feeling with the touchscreen, I think — instant gratification in placing his order, without the need to even articulate his thought. Goofy, yet endearing.
Update: Go read Sooper Mexican to see what this video looked like before MSNBC’s editors got to it. When Romney says “amazing,” he’s not talking about how gee-whiz cool the touchscreens are at Wawa, he’s remarking upon the contrast between the efficiency of those screens and a 33-page government change-of-address form. Good work, MSNBC.
Here’s the full clip via SM. The bit about Wawa versus the change of address comes in the second half.