Mitt Romney Is Not a Chatty Airplane Passenger

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The latest example being bandied about Mitt Romney of his not-so-affable personality is a reportedly aloof exchange between him and passenger while flying in coach. The candidate was seated next to physician Carolyn McClanahan on a flight to Boston, and as she relayed to The New York Times, Romney wasn't so conversational when she spoke with him:

According to Ms. McClanahan, about an hour into the flight — which Mr. Romney mostly spent reading USA Today and using an iPad while wearing headphones — she told him her idea for improving the American health care system: slashing overhead costs by switching to an electronic billing system.

“He looked at me blankly and said, ‘I understand,’ then put his iPad headphones in and kept reading,” she said.

While Ms. McClanahan said Mr. Romney was probably exhausted, she was disappointed he showed so little interest.

..."He’s just like people describe him: just very wooden," [she said].

To be fair to Romney, presumably few people like being drawn in to a conversation about health care policy while they're tired and just trying to get through a plane flight. And, according to The Times, he already had posed for a picture with her and politely thanked her when "she said she appreciated his efforts to reform health care as the governor of Massachusetts." But the incident also showcases a Romney for whom his friends say, "the repetitive business of campaigning simply bores him," as New York's Benjamin Wallace-Wells noted in a recent cover story, and "this boredom is responsible for the fairly sizable gap between the charismatic man they know in private and the battery-powered figure who often appears in public." And, as The Times notes, if Romney is trying to fly coach to seem more accessible to the public, he should be ready for such moments. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.