Mitt Romney may be floundering but he and his pals at Fox News know that Republican Rehab is what friends are for – Fox & Friends, that is. So when Romney visited with the curvy couch crew this morning, there were no pesky questions about Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital and what role he did or did not play in outsourcing jobs. No, siree. Instead, they helped him go on offense against President Obama – and offered a few not-so-subtle hints about how he might regain his footing.
Gretchen Carlson set up an “accuse President Obama of not loving America” opening for Romney. She said, referring to the Obama campaign's accusations that Romney broke the law when he missstated his role at Bain, “Some people find it ironic, Governor, because they accuse the president of apologizing to foreign nations all the time but he has also said now that he won’t apologize to you for apparently calling you a possible felon.”
Then, after reading a quote from Obama saying he won’t apologize, Carlson, asked, “What would you say back to the President?”
That allowed Romney to give a long, uninterrupted response, although he did not go where Carlson was suggesting. Instead, he focused on his business record. “The American people know whether things are better now than they were four years ago,” he said.
Next, it was Steve Doocy’s turn. Saying that Romney was on defense last week, Doocy added, “Now you’re on the offensive.” He said he read in the Washington Post, “You want to draw attention to Obama’s political payoffs vs. the middle class layoffs.” That was another opening for a long “offense” against Obama – Romney style.
“I don’t know whether you watched over the weekend, a report that was in the New York Times about families really struggling, particularly those that are single parents that are just having a hard time making ends meet. This is a tough time for the people of America. But if you’re a campaign contributor to Barack Obama, your business may stand to get billions or hundreds of millions in cash from the government. I think it’s wrong, I think it stinks to high heaven and I think the administration has to explain how it is they would consider giving money to campaign contributors’ businesses.”
Carlson then brought up “campaign strategy." She noted that the Obama campaign “has had a long time to set up their assault on you.” Then, echoing the words of many of her other Fox colleagues, she said, “Some people have said that they want you to fight back.”
Next, guest host Eric Bolling suggested that Romney release his tax returns. Bolling said, “A lot of people are making a lot of why you won’t release more of your tax returns.” He played a clip of Fox’s Bill Kristol saying Romney ought to release them “tomorrow... then give a serious speech” saying that it’s time to move on from the “ridiculous” and “picayune” debate about them and when he left Bain Capital. “Sir, some would say that would be a good way to go on offense. What about it?” Bolling hinted asked.
Romney didn’t seem to appreciate the advice. “The best offense is to look at the President’s record,” he told Carlson. As Think Progress pointed out, Romney’s response to Bolling suggested that releasing additional returns could be politically damaging. Either that, or he’s just digging in and doesn’t want to seem to capitulate. First, Romney made the ridiculous apples-to-orange comparison that Teresa Heinz Kerry never released her tax returns - altough last I checked, she never ran for president. Then he said:
The Obama people keep on wanting more and more and more. More things to pick through, more things for their opposition research to try and make a mountain out of and to distort and to be dishonest about. We’re going to put out two years of tax returns.
Well, nobody can say Fox & Friends didn’t try.