WASHINGTON -- In the 2002 Massachusetts governor's race, a focus group of six women was convened to pick apart the campaigns of Democrat Shannon O'Brien and her Republican opponent, Mitt Romney. The videotaped session, obtained by The Huffington Post, reveals what female voters thought of the future presidential hopeful.
The answer -- not much.
The session may be nearly a decade old, but the focus group participants are prescient in their critique of Romney. His Republican primary challengers and President Barack Obama have been deploying attack lines using criticisms and concerns expressed by these women.
Early in the session, for example, the moderator asks their impression of the politician. A daycare program director offered a one-word reply: "Snobby."
It didn't get much better for Romney during the roughly 90-minute session.
"I'm not leaning toward him, but I think he's a savvy businessman," explained a woman who works with senior citizens. "I think that he might be able to turn the economy around, even though I don't think he's so much for the poorer class or the little man." This was essentially the best praise Romney received.
Others agreed with the view of Romney as an out-of-touch aristocrat. "I don't think he ever lived our lifestyle," offered one. Said another: "I just don't think he understands the problems of the poor or the middle class." The idea of Romney changing the oil in his car or driving a trash truck got a chuckle.
The Obama camp could take away one positive from this forum. All the women agreed that one of O'Brien's attack ads was effective. The ad featured an interview with a male worker whose life had been ruined by Bain, Romney's private equity firm. "We have nothing left," the worker confessed. "That could be my husband," said a stay-at-home mom. "That's scary."
Watch highlight clips from the session below. Note: the identities of the participants have been obscured to protect their anonymity. The people behind the focus group requested anonymity as well.
Impression of Romney
Romney's Too Political
Can Romney Relate?
War On Women