In a mostly lapdog interview on Fox News Sunday, punctuated with a few tough questions, Mitt Romney insisted the most important thing in his campaign is trying to solve the “big issues that America faces” such as unemployment. Yet when asked about what the “one thing” voters should “take away” from his convention speech, Romney quickly replied, “That I believe in America and the American people.” Host Chris Wallace didn’t think that worth commenting on, nor the fact that Romney later gave a dizzying “explanation” as to why he invests in Swiss bank accounts and other offshore investments and then, while he continues to refuse to release more than two years of tax returns, followed that up with the statement, “I’m not gonna try and hide who I am.”
Wallace’s first question to Romney was, “What do you hope to achieve over this next week in Tampa?”
Romney: Well, I’d like people to stand back and say, ‘What are the big issues that America faces?’ And what are the answers that I have and that Paul Ryan has for the issues that we face? And I believe that if people stand back and consider all that America has to deal with going forward, they’ll recognize that we’re the only team that has answers for these challenges. And they’re big and bold answers. America needs that kind of help at a time when so many people are out of work or underemployed or having a hard time making ends meet.
Got that, America? What Romney wants to achieve in Tampa is that we “recognize” the “big and bold answers” he and Ryan have as just the kind of help we need right now.
But as to his speech? Not so much. Wallace’s next question: If voters take away one thing from your big acceptance speech on Thursday night, what do you want that to be?
Romney: That I believe in America and in the American people. That I believe that this nation is unique and exceptional and that we have everything we need to continue to lead the world in prosperity and in peace.
So much for big and bold answers. Unless you think a big and bold answer is a dog whistle that President Obama is not as American as “solution-oriented” Romney.
Somehow, that point must have escaped Wallace – or else he chose not to notice. His next question was about Rep. Todd Akin and the “so-called war on women.”
By the way, it’s worth noting that Romney's response was to hold up Romneycare as proof that he’s pro women. Wallace was obviously surprised at the answer, though he didn’t press the point. Nor did he point out that just a few weeks ago, conservatives nearly mutinied after a Romney-campaign spokeswoman cited Romneycare in a similar way.
Later, Wallace asked about Romney’s investments: “Why didn’t you years ago, somewhere over the last eight years (of running for president) go to the people running your blind trust and say to them, ‘Let’s get out of the Swiss bank accounts, let’s get out of the investments in the Cayman Islands, even if it means we have to make, pay more taxes so we can clear the decks politically?’”
Romney gave a long, rambling and nonelucidating answer that amounted to saying there was “no tax savings” as a result of those investments. Apparently, a bit ruffled by the question, he said he “could have” directed the trustees not to invest in any foreign companies and “by the way, don’t buy any foreign products, don’t have any Japanese TV’s” - as if that were the same thing as stashing money in the Cayman Islands or Swiss bank accounts. He added, “Yeah, I could have done that but you know I did live my life and I expect that by virtue of disclosing all these things, people can take a look at it and see whether that’s something they’re comfortable with or not. I’m not gonna try and hide who I am.”
Wallace pressed a bit further, albeit with an attack-Democrats escape valve built into the question: So what do you make of this talk… about the Cayman Islands and the Swiss bank accounts?
Romney: I understand that’s what the Democrats and the Obama people will do. Again, their campaign is not about the big issues that America faces. Their campaign is not about the fact that you have 23 million people out of work. And half the kids coming out of college can’t find work. Their campaign is trying to find something to say, ‘Gee, he had a Swiss bank account,’ which apparently was done by the blind trustee.
Apparently done by the blind trustee? Wallace let that go by.
So let’s recap: Romney says he wants the campaign to focus on the big issues, but he wants the big takeaway from his convention speech to be his belief in America. He sneers at criticisms of his offshore investments and, at the same time, he has only released one year's tax return about those foreign investments to date. Yet, in the next breath Romney insists, “I’m not gonna try and hide who I am.”
Wallace must have felt lightheaded after all that spin. Because instead of trying to unwind it, he moved on to another softball question: Finally, you are about to become the Republican nominee for president, one step away from the Oval Office. Your beloved father, George Romney, tried for this, didn’t make it. You have tried for eight years. I want to ask you – on a personal basis, not political but personal – how do you feel? What are your thoughts as you take a very, very big step?”
If you thought Wallace was a lapdog in this interview, wait until you see the next segment, where he visited with the entire Romney family at home. It could have been called, The Romneys: America’s family. Stay tuned!
If Romney wins in Novemeber, can we only hope that same serves as a flashpoint where the war on stupid begins!
In that case, Mr. Romney, ten years of tax reporting shouldn’t be too much to ask from an America lover such as yourself.