02/14/2012 05:52 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Mitt Romney Will Drive Around Detroit In The Same Car, Rhapsodizing, Forever

Dave Weigel notes that Mitt Romney's new ad had him back behind the wheel of his car, straight up sentimentalizing about Detroit and the economy and the powerful feelings Romney has for both:

Either Mitt Romney has stumbled into a Michigan-based Beckettian existential hellhole or he is a big fan of recycling. Aficianados of Mitt Romney ads (by which I mean Evan McMorris-Santoro and myself) will recognize that Mitt is on the same journey-by-car that he took for an ad that he released several months ago:

The new ad isn't lacking in improvement -- gone is that awkward moment in the earlier ad where he drives by the same derelict house twice. But the message sure has changed. In the newer ad, Romney says: "President Obama did all these things that the liberals have done for years. The fact that you have millions of Americans out of work, home values collapsing, people here in Detroit are distressed." But months ago, Romney, on the same drive, said: "I know President Obama doesn't have to take all the blame for everything that's gone on in Detroit and other cities in America. But he sure didn't make things better, he made things worse."

What's changed? Romney's had to go from generously letting Obama off the hook for the worst of what happened when the recession came to Michigan in 2003 (and everywhere else in 2008), to going on the defensive against Obama getting too much credit for, you know ... "halftime in America." As I noted earlier, Travis Waldron summed up the matter thusly:

Chrysler posted its first profit more than a decade in last year and expects those profits to continue growing in 2012. It has added 9,400 jobs since its rescue and plans to add 1,600 more at a plant in Illinois this year, and the success of Chrysler and General Motors has helped American automakers control more than half of the industry’s market share. The industry has hired enough workers to make up for all those laid off during the recession, and American and foreign automakers plan to add 167,000 jobs at American plants this year.

So, absent the opportunity to argue that Obama made things worse, what's left is to argue is that Obama hasn't yet made things as awesome as they could be, despite having gotten to do "all these things that the liberals" have wanted to do, which apparently now includes a Bush-era intervention to save the U.S. auto industry.

At any rate, this ad obviously didn't cost the Romney campaign too much too make, since it's essentially a re-edit of a previous ad. Weigel, noting the essential cheapness, asks, "Why not put the guy out there, interacting with people?" Probably because he needs to save that money for Santorum attack ads.

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