As Mitt Romney attempts the very difficult act of simultaneously walking back and pressing forward with his remarks about the 47 percent, it finally dawned on me that what shoots his defense full of holes is what the candidate didn’t say.
In declaring he couldn’t get 47 percent of the voting public, Romney didn’t make any distinctions about who that 47 percent is. He mentions the military now, (there’s an exemption from federal income tax) he mentions seniors on Social Security now, but back in May he just lumped everyone together.
I suspect this may not hurt him with seniors, who are apt to think the candidate is talking about someone other than them. No matter – the point is, if Romney really believed there’s a distinction between, say, your average welfare queen cliche and a senior getting Social Security and Medicaid, he would have said so. This is foundational stuff. It goes directly to how someone sees the public he wants to work for. It’s not inelegant phrasing.
Here’s another thought: maybe Romney gets carried away while responding to questions that interest him – call it an error of exuberance. But if that’s the case, you really don’t want him at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where measured responses are always the order of the day.