I happened to catch a few minutes of this interview with Mitt Romney by the editorial board of the Union Leader, a Republican newspaper in New Hampshire, on C-SPAN the other day. It had been a while since I’d heard Romney speak extemporaneously outside the debate setting, and I had forgotten how badly he presents himself. (The stammer is a particularly galling affectation meant to convey earnestness.)
Had I been able to stomach the entire thing, I would have caught a moment of supreme weaselry, when Romney was asked about the active-duty soldier in Iraq who was booed by tea baggers at the Republican presidential debate in Orlando earlier this month:
“I would tell you that in these debates there has been a lot of booing and a lot of applause. Cheering and booing,” Mr. Romney said Monday during a 70-minute interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader, which was broadcast on CSPAN. “Now I have not made it my practice to scold the audience and say, ‘I disagree with this person. I agree with that person.’ Because it goes a lot of different directions.” […]
“You’d have to look at it,” he said. “I don’t know when they booed, and I don’t know why people booed. I will tell you that the boos and the applause has not always coincided with my own views.”
Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly wonders:
I’m curious, do even Mitt Romney’s most ardent backers actually respect this guy? Could anyone seriously make the case that he’s a man of personal courage?
This isn’t complicated. Stephen Hill is putting his life on the line for his country — for all of us — serving overseas. Because Hill is a gay man asking about DADT, some Republicans felt justified booing him. A third of the Republican field now believes that was wrong, as does John McCain, who led the charge to protect DADT from repeal.
Can Romney muster just enough strength to acknowledge the booing was wrong? Apparently not.
President Obama said the other day, “You want to be commander in chief, you can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it’s not politically convenient.”
It appears Mitt Romney doesn’t do much of anything if it’s not politically convenient.