Romney Just Can't Win Talking About Convenience Stores

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Update: We've followed up on this post to note that many are criticizing MSNBC's editing of Romney's remarks.

Mitt Romney is being mocked for waxing on with boyish wonderment about a touchscreen that allowed him to order a sandwich in a Wawa, a Pennsylvania-based convenience chain, which just goes to show that whether he's knocking them or talking them up, he just can't win when discussing America's convenience stores. "I was at Wawas [sic] I wanted to order a sandwich. You press a little touch tone keypad, the sandwich comes, you touch this, touch this, touch this, go pay the cashier, there's your sandwich. It's amazing!" he said to voters at a Pennsylvania campaign stop this weekend. 

The Atlantic's James Fallows reports that according to Romney, "WaWa as a parable for what's right and wrong in America... at WaWa, great hoagies. Also, very efficient touch-pad ordering system. This is what you get with competition." We highly recommend you watch him discuss it in the video below


As MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell says, "I get the feeling -- take a look at this -- that Mitt Romney has not been in too many Wawas along the roadside of Pennsylvania." Or as Matt Bevens, a surrogate press coordinator for Obama writes more bluntly on Twitter, "So out of touch he's never used a gas station touchscreen." Some folks, including MSNBC's Mitchell, have compared this to George H.W. Bush's apocryphal reaction to a supermarket scanner in 1992. (The video does not show the elder Bush looking too impressed.) Really though, Romney can't seem to get it right when speaking about convenience stores, as he took some ribbing when he refused a woman's cookies because they looked like they came from 7-Eleven. (Also in Pennsylvania!) Monday's Wawa commentary seems to be the exact opposite problem: he's now too enthusiastic about convenience store offerings where before he was too critical.

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Sure, it's sort of funny to see Romney describe a fairly pedestrian device to voters like it's an iPad 7 or something, but as far as gaffes go, this is probably not worth anyone's time. The humor really ought to come from Romney's overstated enthusiasm for something the rest of us don't think much about. (Think: Newt Gingrich and his moon colony obsession), rather than the old "out of touch rich guy" narrative. Besides, when a grown man's eyes dance with delight over a sandwich-ordering interface, it's more endearing than anything else.

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