On the same day that Fox & Friends unveiled its 4-minute anti-Obama attack ad in the guise of a review of President Obama’s last four years, Fox’s America’s Newsroom played Part 1 of co-host Bill Hemmer’s softball interview called Getting to know the Romneys which just so happened to (uncritically) address the very issues that Romney needs help with: his likeability factor. Co-host Martha MacCallum even acknowledged that during her brief chat with Hemmer after the interview.
A few weeks ago, a Gallup poll underscored Obama’s big likeability edge over Romney, especially regarding “is likeable” and “cares about the needs of people like you.” So what a coincidence that Hemmer’s interview seemed designed to focus on those very points!
As B-roll footage showed “regular guy” Romney putting a towel around a grandchild coming out of a pool, Hemmer said he spent the weekend with the Romney family and “lots of grandchildren” on behalf of a country that is “just now getting to know him.”
Mitt and Ann Romney sat in straight-backed chairs as Hemmer asked a blue-jeaned Mitt, “What kind of a boss were you?” When Romney said, “You’ll have to ask the people who worked with me.” Hemmer prompted pressed, “Were you the first one in the morning, were you the last one to leave?”
Ann Romney jumped in to say that he was the first one in, the last one to leave and “no lunches.” She added, “He’s the hardest-working person I’ve ever met besides his father, who was a crazy man.”
Uh-oh, that might get misinterpreted. So Hemmer jumped in to help clarify: “Crazy good?” Yes, crazy good, Ann and Mitt assured us.
“I paid other people more than I paid myself because I thought they were doing a better job,” “regular guy” Mitt noted.
Hemmer made the point more explicitly. “Here you are traveling all over the country and you’re meeting with middle class families that have been through some kind of trauma over the past four years… How do you make a connection to those people?”
Why, Romney feels their pain, yes indeedie. He said, “The statistics understate the kind of pain and insecurity that exist in America’s homes. I see people who may be employed but are very concerned they could lose their job at anytime.” He didn't mention people who work but still can't afford health insurance or to pay college tuition for their kids or dental bills.
Hemmer didn't seem to think of it. He said, “And back to the connection aspect of this. There will be people – and you know this already – who will look at you as just a successful rich guy.”
“Like FDR and John F. Kennedy,” Mitt quipped. “This is not a nation that divides people based upon whether they’ve been successful or not (except on Fox News). We don’t say, ‘Oh, boy, this person won the lottery and therefore they can’t understand me.’ We instead look at people and celebrate their success and their achievement.” Romney added, “The real need in America is to help middle income families get good jobs with rising incomes and more security and help people who are poor come out of poverty and become middle income.”
Of course, there’s a reason that middle class Americans liked FDR and don’t like Romney – and it has to do with a perception about whether or not he’d be working to help people like themselves or not. Romney oozes not. No matter how many lapdog interviews Fox News does with him and the family.
Back in the studio, co-host Martha MacCallum suggested that addressing Romney's likeability problem was the very point of the interview. "And you look at the likeability numbes which he’s had a tough time with to a certain extent. This gives people a window to sort of decide where they think for themselves based on a little more understanding of who he is," she said.
It's worth noting that even she didn't say anything about what regular or likeable folks the Romneys are.
Tall Tales About Private Equity
Even if a few of the middle class make it to 20,000 feet Romney wouldn’t notice.