Today in Mitt Romney's Bad Luck: Bachmann's Faux Jewishness
That Jewish voters wrongly think rival is Jewish is only his latest problem
Poor Mitt Romney can't catch a break this summer. Talking heads have been fixated by a series of sexier candidates and non-candidates, from Jon Huntsman to Michele Bachmann to the current crush, Rick Perry. Everyone is more interesting than Romney! For months, Romney's been able to use that to his advantage--let the other candidates say stupid things while he lays low and steadily builds total fundraising dominance. But now that's hit a snag, too. Looking to capitalize on President Obama's "Israel problem," Romney's campaign has been dialing wealthy Jewish voters for contributions. But many tell the campaign they're saving their dollars for the Jewish candidate--Michele Bachmann, who's so not Jewish! Here's a rundown of Romney's hardknock life--if you don't count the fabulously rich and powerful part.
- The "Jewish Candidate" With Obama losing support among Jewish voters, Romney "moved to quickly position himself as an alternative," the New York Post's Josh Margolin reports. But a lot of them erroneously believe that Bachmann, a Lutheran who likes to talk about her time working on an Israeli kibbutz, is Jewish. "It's a real problem," a Romney fundraiser told Margolin. "We're working very hard in the Jewish community because of Obama's Israel problem. This was surprising." Some in the campaign even wonder if Team Bachmann has been encouraging the Jewish rumor on purpose.
- Needs to Live Like Common People Romney got a public warning from House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy that he lacks the common touch. McCarthy told the Bakersfield Californian's Courtenay Edelhart Romney shouldn't quadruple the size of one of his three homes during the campaign. And he needs to meet the proles, McCarthy said: "He needs to stop staying in hotels and start staying with volunteers at every campaign stop... His job should be to take out the trash every day, and if that bag breaks, he needs to clean it up." Of course, McCarthy's critique is a bit unfair. Romney's campaign clarified Monday that he's merely doubling the size of his home, not quadrupling it. The garage doesn't count!
- Needs to Step Up His Game... National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru and Rich Lowry argue that Romney's strategy to beat Rick Perry--who's ahead of Romney in national polls--won't work. Romney wants to call Perry a career politician, but Romney is far more familiar to voters because he's been running for president since 2006. So, they write, "The things people often dislike about politicians -- flip-flops and slickness -- are things they are more likely to associate with Romney than with Perry. The main trouble with the career-politician attack, thus, may be who’s delivering it."
- ...And Move It to Iowa The Hill's Christian Heinze notes that Bill Kristol said on Fox News Monday that Romney's campaign is figuring out it will have to campaign in Iowa after all. Romney had planned on mostly staying out of the state, whose socially conservative voters probably won't like his Massachusetts record. But now, Kristol says, "I think what Romney will decide, I think this will happen, actually -- I've talked to some people pretty close to the campaign -- I think he will now compete in Iowa with Perry, if no one else gets into the race."
- But to Do That, He Needs Palin The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake argue that Romney needs Sarah Palin to get in the race. Romney needs Palin to steal some of Perry's Tea Party support and help him rally non-Tea Partying Republicans. But, they write, that good fortune would force Romney to go to Iowa, "since Bachmann's strength there coupled with Perry and Palin going all-out would make a victory in the Hawkeye State a real possibility for him."