The era of journalists sizing up candidates through background conversations is a casualty of today’s Twitter age, says Schmidt: “On the bus, the average age of reporters was 24, each with a handheld camera or cellphone looking to file the most politically damaging thing they could file that day.”

Fleischer says it is often a matter of not having a stray comment obscure your message. “If President Bush gave a speech and made news, we wanted that to stand on its own,” he says.

What’s more, “the press still has a hangover from the love affair in 2008, even though they’re not as in love with him as they used to be. It’s much easier to be Barack Obama than Mitt Romney when it comes to press coverage.”

But the inescapable fact is that Romney has a propensity for damaging slips of the tongue. The morning after the Florida primary, he stepped on his victory by telling CNN’s Soledad O’Brien that “I’m not concerned about the very poor.”