Mitt Romney Confronted Over "Osama" Sign

Jerid at Buckeye State Blog saw the picture of Mitt Romney holding up a supporter's sign that said "No To Obama, Osama and Chelsea's Moma" and got pissed that Romney would endorse a sign comparing any American to Osama bin Laden, let alone Democratic presidential candidates. So what did he do -- headed down to a Romney event video camera in hand, got a front row seat and confronted Romney directly.

Watch it:

The best Romney could do in his response to Jerid was to essentially tell the crowd "I'm not actually paying attention to you when I meet you at these events":

I'm going to be taking many pictures with all of you and I don't really spend too much time looking at the signs and the t-shirts and the buttons. So I don't have anything particularly to say about a sign somebody else was holding.

Jerid rightfully didn't let him get away with that:

You were holding the sign and smiling...You took a picture standing next to the sign holding it up, smiling.

Which does raise an interesting point, in this age of user-generated content (whether old school or new,) about the extent to which the views expressed by a supporter should carry over to the candidate, but Romney's attempt to downplay his endorsement of the message on the sign is laughable -- how can holding up a sign and smiling not imply an endorsement?

This episode also reveals just how not ready for prime time Romney is. How could he not have had a better answer for Jerid's question at the ready? Instead, all he could do was resort to the same phrase McCain used when asked about his famous "bomb bomb bomb Iran" incident, the desperately dismissive: "Lighten up." That's all he has. Makes it even clearer what a gift a Romney nomination would be.

Update [2007-7-23 16:59:36 by Todd Beeton]: Jerid isn't done with Romney quite yet. He just posted a copy of a picture of the infamous Osama/Obama sign with Romney's signature on the back, which he signed for Jerid at an ice cream shop yesterday prior to the event captured on video above. As Jerid says:
Romney claims he doesn't support all the signs his supporters hold up? Normally that'd be reasonable. However, when you, as a candidate, hold a sign up, smile, and get your picture taken with a sign comparing Americans to Osama Bin Laden that sends a different message. It's even more damning when you'll sign copies of the picture on the road.
Nicely played, Jerid.

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, Mitt Romney, Republican primary (all tags)

Comments

13 Comments

Re:

Kudos to Jerid and to whomever was in the crowd... not sure if that was a friend of Jerid's or someone else.

Anyone else see the GOP trainwheels coming off in 2008?

If that happened during the GE, any of our people would eat him alive.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-07-23 09:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Confronted

Any media outlet write a story about this yet?..Maybe the Washpo or Ny Times etc etc?

by JaeHood 2007-07-23 09:14AM | 0 recs
It's on CNN's Political Ticker

now. The top story of the political ticker, in fact, on cnn.com

by jj32 2007-07-23 02:26PM | 0 recs
Kos v. Romney: compare and contrast


That's the homework essay I would assign to The Big Giant Head, aka Bill O'Reilly.  Meanwhile, I would try to get Romney to comment on O'Reilly's jihad against DailyKos.  That might provide some interesting side-by-side footage, either way he answers.

-- TP

by Rethymniotis 2007-07-23 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Romney Confronted Over "Osama" Sign

Which does raise an interesting point, in this age of user-generated content (whether old school or new,) about the extent to which the views expressed by a supporter should carry over to the candidate, but Romney's attempt to downplay his endorsement of the message on the sign is laughable -- how can holding up a sign and smiling not imply an endorsement?

This episode also reveals just how not ready for prime time Romney is. How could he not have had a better answer for Jerid's question at the ready? Instead, all he could do was resort to the same phrase McCain used when asked about his famous "bomb bomb bomb Iran" incident, the desperately dismissive: "Lighten up." That's all he has. Makes it even clearer what a gift a Romney nomination would be.

I have written this many times: Candidates and campaigns are not responsible for, nor do they control their amateur fans. But, it's really shoddy campaign strategery to have it look like your candidate is endorsing the private lunatic message of your party.

Our experienced hunter (obviously, not an experienced presidential candidate) and dog mover could have added an apology and some boilerplate about working harder in the future to raise the level of civic discourse in our nation...

...instead, we'll have to crash his rallies with "dubya is a dumbass" t-shirts to see if we can get a photo with him.

by Michael Bersin 2007-07-23 09:42AM | 0 recs
I'm dissenting

I'm sympathetic. There are often tons of quick photos being taken, and the job of the candidate is to be warm and cheerful as a default. A still communicates so little. If this happened to my candidate I would defend him.

Macaca was a real gaffe; it showed so much of the man's character. Romney's will probably come. For now I hope we keep talking about his dog.

It was nice to see how easily he loses his cool, though--a big invitation to keep needling him.

by JoeFelice 2007-07-23 10:38AM | 0 recs
This idiocy warrants

the sustainted outcry of "maccaca".  We can bury this guy.  If, as JoeF suggests, he gladhands anyone with a sign, than he deserves our unmitigated and sustained ire.  C'mon folks, you know what you need to do.

by pamelabrown 2007-07-23 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm dissenting

THe problem is this. The way Romney held the sign, you could tell he knew what he was holding. And why didn't Romney just condemn the sign when asked the question "hey you know what, I wasn't aware at the time. But that kind of sign is uncalled for. And if my campaign people ever see such a sign in the future, I will make sure they get rid of it"

by Pravin 2007-07-23 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm dissenting

That's the best message, Pravin, and it's heartening to see him fail to come up with it.

Could you draw him out on this and get him to make a more explicitly stupid remark? Probably! But until then, I see plausible deniability:

  • In that the comparison on the sign is implicit, not explicit
  • In that it's not impossible that those stills could both have occurred without his having scrutinized the sign (If only we had the video. There's a camera and boom in the shot.)
  • And (re:pamela), gladhanding everyone is the politician m.o.
I don't think it's enough to change people's minds...yet.

by JoeFelice 2007-07-23 12:39PM | 0 recs
Confronted Over "Osama" Sign

Mitt is pittiful.  That's his best excuse?  He couldn't hold Texas in the general.  He's been at this for about 6 months... That leaves room for about 3 more moments like these... Since he's barely paying attention and all.  

by JeremiahTheMessiah 2007-07-23 12:10PM | 0 recs
Comma

Correct me if I missed it, but where is everyone getting that comma from (ie. Obama[b],[/b] Osama, and Chelsea's Moma [sic].)?  I saw the sign and read it as "Obama Osama," as though they're trying to say that Obama IS Osama.

by TheUnknown285 2007-07-23 01:02PM | 0 recs
It's apocryphal

but supposedly Chelsea asked a soldier in Iraq what his greatest fears were and he said, "Osama, Obama, and your momma."

That's the story that the sign is making reference to.

by Sadie Baker 2007-07-23 01:39PM | 0 recs
Mitt said

"I'm going to be taking many pictures with all of you and I don't really spend too much time looking at the signs and the t-shirts and the buttons."

Can't wait to pull my old "I'm with stupid" tee-shirt out of the mothballs and hustle on down to the next Mitt Romney event.

by Sadie Baker 2007-07-23 01:41PM | 0 recs

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