GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's political past, persona and preferences have fed some persistent concerns among supporters, documented by Politico in a lengthy piece Tuesday morning.
"I worry that the default will be for the devil you know over the devil you don't," William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, told Politico, weighing the decision between Romney and President Barack Obama voters will face this November.
But much of the worry about Romney comes from the things voters do know. Among these issues stands the former Massachusetts governor's decision not to back away from billionaire real estate mogul and vocal "birther" proponent Donald Trump, despite his continued eagerness to, as conservative pundit George Will might say, "bloviate" about Obama's allegedly forged birth certificate.
The Obama campaign has been quick to capitalize on Romney's refusal to put Trump at arm's length. Trump has meanwhile been undertaking a steady effort to rebrand the "birther" movement.
But then there are the traps that Romney’s own supporters could lay for him. Donald Trump, for one, said he plans to continue talking about what he calls “the place-of-birth issue.” (“I think the word ‘birther’ is a derogatory term, created by a certain group in the media,” he explained.)
“People are seriously disputing the birth certificate,” Trump said in a telephone interview. “I think there’s a large group of people that wants to hear about this. Obviously it’s a very important issue. Because if it ever turned out to be correct, it’s bigger than Watergate.” Romney just campaigned with the guy, generating a lot of public blowback.
While Trump tells Politico that he'll keep up his dogged pursuit of the supposed secret about Obama's birthplace, he told CNBC in an interview Tuesday that it was the media's fault, not his, for constantly bringing up the issue.