Romney's Bain problem is real

But sources also said data for at least one campaign showed the Bain attacks taking a bit of the job-creator sheen off Romney as they raised questions about his business experience and left Romney answering in hazy terms.

“It gave people pause about his chief area of strength, his business experience, which he had failed to explain beyond ‘I created 100,000 jobs,’ or ‘I had a successful career in the private sector,’” one source said.

Even in Romney’s circle, there’s a level of concern about whether the former Massachusetts governor has made it too easy for opponents to cast him as a cold, secretive Howard Hughes type. Other Republicans are privately incredulous over Romney’s awkward response to the mockery of his wealth and criticism of his private equity background…

Still, the strategist said: “The disturbing part of all of this is that these attacks were all desperate attempts by flailing candidates and yet they were enough to take Romney off his game, not because they worked, but because he was unprepared. This will prolong the inevitable and will hopefully make Romney a stronger candidate for the general, but this is a little surprising.”