Will Hot-Headed Romney From 2008 Re-emerge?

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Will the hot-headed --real-- Mitt Romney return? He's done a better job this election cycle as the PACs do the dirty work for him. Between his campaign and the PAC nearly $3 million went into destroying Gingrich.

[Election 2012: From The Archives]


We know politicians lie; the only difference is how blatantly and frequently each lies.

Mitt Romney is the front-runner when it comes to naked lies, dating back to the 2008 presidential campaign as a classic encounter with an Associated Press reporter at the time shows.

(In the next few weeks we will profile Romney's flip-flopping on several fundamental positions, including shifting his stance on a woman's right to abortion.)

At the 2008 incident in Columbia, South Carolina, Romney had claimed that he was the candidate who wanted to go to Washington to work on behalf of the American people and; that he didn't have lobbyists "running" his campaign.

An AP reporter, Glen Johnson, did something which is rare in the world of corporate journalism. He actually challenged Romney --which is the kind of stuff you'd imagine they taught at journalism schools. The reporter even threw the name of the alleged lobbyist at Romney; Ron Kaufman. Candidate Romney denied that Kaufman was "running" his campaign.

"Listen to my words," Romney said, berating the reporter, "Beth Myers is running my campaign."

The AP reporter would not buy it; Romney was shaken up. The candidate wasn't used to this kind of backbone from a reporter. Who could blame Romney for believing that the reporter would've curled into a fetal position once he berated him?

Instead, Johnson continued to challenge Romney and got him to concede that Kaufman was an "advisor." Romney stressed that Kaufman wasn't paid --which was even worse because it meant Kaufman would have come in to cash his I.O.U had Romney won-- and that Kaufman didn't even participate in senior strategy sessions.

After Johnson got Romney to admit that Kaufman did sit in on debate preparations, Romney was reduced to foolishly asking the reporter: "Is that a senior strategy session?"

Of course it is. Fast-forward to the current election cycle. Newt Gingrich rose to the forefront briefly because of his stellar debate performance. Gingrich was torpedoed by negative advertisements paid for through PACS, with the use of unrestricted donor money, on behalf of Romney, before the Iowa Caucuses.

Romney is playing the game differently for the 2012 election. For one thing, he does not need lobbyists to be physically close to his staff or on his campaign plane. With the Supreme Court's Citizens United debacle of a decision, unregulated money, through PACs can now flow freely to bolster his candidacy; one pro-Romney PAC is "Restore our Future."

One of this PAC's operatives is Larry McCarthy, the same person who designed the infamous Willie Lynch race-baiting ads that doomed candidate Michael Dukakis.

Romney is a hot-head as the clip from the archives show; it looked like he wanted to go fist-to-fist with the Associated Press reporter. After the press conference, he actually made a detour and went to try and intimidate Johnson.

"He's not running my campaign; he's not running my campaign--listen to my words," Romney insisted, speaking of Kaufman to the reporter who remained unimpressed and unconvinced.

"Let's talk; let's you and I talk," Romney concludes, sounding more like he's threatening the reporter than inviting him for lunch.

The best part of video clip from the encounter is actually at the end, when Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom tells the reporter who exposed his boss: "Save your opinions and act professionally."

What Fehrnstrom meant was that the reporter was out of line when he actually engaged in real journalism. In a world dominated by corporate toe-the-party-line media, the reporter was supposed to "act" professionally, not actually "work" professionally.

Will the hot-headed --real-- Mitt Romney return? He's done a better job this election cycle as the PACs do the dirty work for him. Between his campaign and the PAC nearly $3 million went into destroying Gingrich.

This Sunday on "Meet The Press's" Presidential debate, Romney faces a vengeful Gingrich; and Rick Santorum, seeking to improve on Iowa, will also toss some grenades.

A hot-headed version of Romney, should he return, would have to forget about debating President Obama, who has ice running in his veins.


"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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