If you're like most Americans, you have been completely blindsided by today's news that Mitt Romney has formed a presidential exploratory committee. Wait, wait! Mitt Romney? He wants to be president, too? I know, I know, let the shock wash over you.
As always, please note that this actually isn't a "formal announcement" for president. That will come later. But it will, inevitably, come, which is a lot more than we can say at the moment about people like Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee.
Romney's rollout seems to acknowledge that the competitor that he has to draw the biggest distinction with is Tim Pawlenty -- the other center-right optimist-technocrat in the race. He succeeded on a couple of fronts.
First of all, he got the rollout's social media piece just right. As Jon Ward reports, the news broke over Twitter and filtered out. Pawlenty strove for the same sort of "down with the youngs" announcement himself, but it floundered thanks to some old-school leaks. And while Pawlenty's web video strategy has been suffused with Michael Bay-style quick-cut bombast, Romney's announcement video is calm and composed -- almost mumblecore.
That said, as HuffPost Hill points out, that new logo of Romney's could be "a great logo for a toothpaste," or "a really boring cruise line." Via the Washington Post's T.J. Ortenzi, here's a comparison:
Via Ben Smith, here is some worse news:
Mitt Romney's launched his exploratory committee today with a dynamic new slogan: "Believe in America."
If that slogan sounds a little familiar, that's because it was the title of John Kerry's cross-country tour in August of 2004, as CNN reported a two-week, 3,500-mile, coast-to-coast trip, dubbed the 'Believe in America' tour, that will take them to 21 states and 40 cities."
Maybe this "Believe in America" stuff is just something unique to Massachusetts politicians? At any rate, in the annals of political sloganeering, there have been bigger failures.
- President Barack Obama has some tough sledding ahead in the state of Florida, it seems: "A majority of Florida's registered voters disapprove of President Obama's job performance, and as a result, Obama trails Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney in hypothetical 2012 matchups there, according to a new Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll." [TPMDC]
- It just goes to show how hungry the media is for something of substance to emerge from the 2012 arena, which has so far been dominated largely by Donald Trump's crank outbursts, that when Tim Pawlenty announced today that he was signing up Nick Ayers as a campaign manager, it was huge news. There's no reason a normal person needs to worry about who Nick Ayers is -- the newsy thing is that he used to work for Haley Barbour, so it's a Pawlenty poach. Still, the news led us to Pawlenty's Facebook page, where he's also made an Ayers announcement, and we would really recommend that Pawlenty's staff learn to guard his page as zealously as Sarah Palin, who doesn't allow criticism to last very long. (Also: no, Nick Ayers is not related to Bill Ayers, though yes, that would be hilarious.) [First Read]
- Speaking of Donald Trump, if you write about him and he doesn't like it, he will print your story off the internet and doodle all over it with magic markers and then mail it to you, asking "WHO IS BEN SMITH?" because that's just being intelligent. (And cost effective!) [Vanity Fair]
- Glenn Beck wants you to invest your money in gold scams and apocalypse seeds and backpacks full of post-apocalypse beef stroganoff. In a similar vein, he also wants you to vote for an Allen West-Michele Bachmann ticket. "He's not afraid to pull the trigger and he takes responsibility," Beck said, likely fantasizing about Allen West shooting guns at Cass Sunstein. [The Hill]