Mitt Romney is set to be the first presidential candidate (in a field of eighteen and counting) to run a television ad. The sixty second spot, set to start airing Wednesday in the primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Michigan and Florida, is, according to a Romney campaign spokesperson, aiming to tell "interested voters exactly who Mitt Romney is and why he is the right choice as our next president...Our goal was to show Governor Romney unplugged and get people as close to being on the campaign trail with him as you can get."
Initial concerns about Romney tended to focus on whether the country was prepared to put a Mormon in the White House (as opposed to, say, a woman or a black person). However, as Richard Cohen points out in today's Washington Post, it may be Romney's zig-zaging on issues in an attempt to reach out to the Republican base, that proves to be his greatest challenge.
"I surf the Web with trepidation, bracing myself for the story that I fear might be coming: "Romney Says He Is Not Really a Mormon."...What's an ambitious, square-jawed opportunist to do? He might do as he has done in the past and change his position."This "zig-zagging" was the primary topic of discussion on Sunday's "This Week" where George Stephanopoulos questioned Romney regarding his recent changes-of-heart on such hot button topics as abortion, gun control, and gay rights. In the end this was how Romney' summed up his differing views:
"As you get older and you have experience -- I ran for office the first time, never having been in politics, 13 years ago against Ted Kennedy and since then I've learned a few more things."Richard Cohen was less magnanimous about it.
"In fact, to watch Romney on the show was to see a thoroughly counterfeit man. If he were a coin, a vending machine would spit him out".
It may turn out, in the end, that Romney's religion, much like Clinton's gender , and Barak's color, may not be the voter's top concerns.