Mitt Romney's Sad Tour of America's Modern Ruins

An ugly economy makes for some unfortunate photo-ops

This article is from the archive of our partner .

To hammer President Obama on the sluggish economy, Romney has been touring businesses around the country that closed during the recession. On Wednesday, he hit the Valley Plaza in North Hollywood, California. Someone working for Mitt Romney must be a Tiffany fan. It's like his staff remembered the 1980s pop star's then-novel marketing campaign The Beautiful You: Celebrating The Good Life Shopping Mall Tour '87 and asked, how can we do that, only make it even more depressing?

Romney told fans and reporters that, "sadly, as we look around us at this development, we see a development that is no longer going to be a development... The Valley Plaza development program has been scrapped in part because of the challenges of the economy." Talking Points Memo's Benjy Sarlin reports the Plaza's problems were quite a bit more complicated than Romney made them out to be. But it's hard to fathom why Romney wants his picture taken in front of ugly Middle America modern ruins. If George W. Bush was supposed to be "the guy you want to have a beer with," then maybe Romney is aiming for "the guy who remembers where we parked the car."
(Photo via Reuters.)
In nearly every photo from Romney's empty mall tour, he's got the sunny smile of a used car salesman.
(Photo via Getty Images.)
Does this image suggest "president" or "local car dealer denies scandal"?
(Photo via Associated Press.)
Romney officially kicked off his Grand Tour of Sad Places, aka Grand Tour of Reasons You Left Your Hometown, aka Grand Tour of Fun Places for Teens to Do Shopping Cart Stunts In, in June with a speech in front of a closed factory in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
(Photo via Associated Press.)
A weed-clogged chainlink fence is not the first image that comes to mind when you think "winner," unless you're talking about breaking into an abandoned building as the "winner of a dare." But the Romney campaign clearly likes the way it looks. It posted a video about the Allentown speech, in which the camera pans over "No Parking" signs, old fire hydrants, and chipped paint. It curiously lingers on this shot multiple times:
What are they trying to say? Mitt Romney: The crappy economy is over his head? Mitt Romney: He probably could climb this fence? Mitt Romney: If you want to practice tagging, he knows where to go?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.