- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Attacks on Romney getting personal
SUMTER, S.C. — The criticism of Mitt Romney is getting personal.
His rivals have tried to chip away at his business record and they’ve hit him on abortion. Now, Rick Santorum is calling him “bland and boring.” And Newt Gingrich is chiding him for, among other things, once strapping the family dog to a kennel on the roof of his car and speaking French.
It’s a reflection of Romney’s strong standing in the race for the GOP presidential nomination after back-to-back victories in Iowa and New Hampshire. His opponents are struggling to derail him a week before the Jan. 21 South Carolina contest and just over two weeks until the Florida primary.
The more personal criticism cuts to the heart of one of Romney’s big vulnerabilities — his image.
In his first presidential race four years ago, an always buttoned-up Romney struggled to connect with people, often coming across as stiff and slick. He always wore a suit and tie on the campaign trail. His hair was perfectly coiffed. He told goofy jokes. And the wealthy Boston resident with several homes often had what were perceived as uneasy encounters with voters.
This time, his campaign had made a conscious effort to make him seem more down to earth.
He often talks about pop culture. His new campaign uniform is a pair of jeans — usually Gap or Tommy Bahama — paired with a button-down patterned shirt. He wears suits on the debate stage, but only an hour after a morning debate in New Hampshire he was already in new clothes for a campaign event. His wife, Ann, often testifies about Romney’s easy-going, even fun, personal side.
At an event here Saturday, 55-year-old Ruth Williams approached Romney to tell him she was jobless. Romney opened his wallet and handed her a wad of cash, according to ABC News. A Romney spokesperson confirmed he gave her between $50 and $60.
But Romney still hasn’t been able to fully shake the image of a dull, straight-laced Wall Street banker with an awkward side who lacks charisma.
And some of his rivals are stoking the notion that the wealthy former venture capitalist from Boston is out of touch with many Americans — and far from the kind of president an average-Joe voter would want to down a beer with.
Gingrich’s campaign has assembled a highlight reel of clips of Romney’s verbal miscues, and openings he’s created for rivals to attack, from this campaign and from 2008. One clip is from a Fox News interview in which Romney says the family’s Irish Setter traveled in “a completely airtight kennel, mounted on the roof of our car.”
“We loved the dog. It was where he was comfortable,” Romney said then of Seamus.
Another clip shows Romney saying: “Who let the dogs out? Who? Who?”
The video is titled “For the Dogs,” and it includes the tag line: “Imagine what Obama would do with a candidate like that.”
Another video by the Gingrich campaign, called “The French Connection,” compares Romney to failed Democratic presidential nominees Michael Dukakis and John Kerry, two liberals from Massachusetts who had trouble winning over voters. Kerry, in particular, was seen as aloof and elitist by many voters.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- House pushes through two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- N. Korean news agency: Kim Jong Un's uncle executed
- U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion tops $17 trillion for first time
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow