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Conventions 2012 / Conventions 2012

Mitt Romney's Snakebit Summer

It's not just the horse, the hurricane or those deadlocked polls.

photo of Matt  Berman
August 27, 2012

Mitt Romney hasn't had the easiest summer. It's not just his  neck-and-neck poll numbers, despite running against an incumbent mired in a sluggish economy. It's not just that his nominating convention is getting hijacked by a hurricane. It's not even just that the horse partially owned by his wife came up short in an Olympic competition that he uncomfortably, preemptively criticized.

Romney's summer has been snakebit, marked by a series of unfortunate events, often outside of his control. So as his long summer finally comes near a close, we look back on its dog days.

1. Learn How to Be An American

 

July got off to a rocky start when Romney campaign surrogate and former New Hampshire governor John Sununu said on a conference call that he wished President Obama "would learn how to be an American." Sununu later said that he misspoke.

2. Olympics in the Middle of Nowhere

Before arriving in London, Romney kicked off his British excursion on the wrong foot by telling NBC that he found security issues leading up to the games "disconcerting." British Prime Minister David Cameron was none-too-pleased, responding with a criticism of his own about the Salt Lake City Olympics that Romney oversaw: "We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.” 

3. A Holy Site

While in Poland during the same overseas trip, a traveling press secretary with the Romney campaign created a bit of a firestorm of his own. When pushed by Romney's traveling press pool at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier about campaign gaffes, press aide Rick Gorka lost his temper. “Kiss my ass. This is a Holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect,” he said. Gorka later apologized

4. Delayed Rollout

 

The memorial service for victims of the Sikh temple shooting in Rep. Paul Ryan's Wisconsin district was held on Friday, Aug.10 -- the same day Romney had initially intended to do his rollout announcing Ryan as his running mate. The campaign had to move the event from Friday in New Hampshire to Saturday in Virginia.

5. The Next President of the United States

When Romney did present his vice presidential pick, he accidentally introduced Paul Ryan as "the next president of the United States." Romney quickly realized his mistake -- the same one Barack Obama made in 2008 -- and corrected himself once Ryan reached the podium. 

6. Legitimate Rape

Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican Senate candidate for Missouri, added to Romney's summer woes when he suggested in a television interview that women can't become pregnant from rape. He told KTVI that "if it's a legitimate rape the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Romney and countless other GOP leaders called on Akin to drop out of the Senate race. So far, they've had no luck.

7. No One's Ever Asked To See My Birth Certificate

At a campaign stop in Michigan on Aug. 24, Romney went off his economic message with a remark that landed heavier than he may have intended. To a crowd of several thousand, Romney said, “I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised, where both of us were born. Ann was born in Henry Ford Hospital. I was born in Harper Hospital. No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.” Romney later said that line was a joke, but his campaign quickly found itself playing defense.

8. Isaac Cometh

Tropical Storm Isaac shaved one day off the Republican National Convention before it started. As the storm threatened to make landfall as a hurricane over New Orleans, the GOP was considering truncating the convention further. The campaign badly wanted to use this convention to re-introduce its nominee on its terms, but Isaac may have the final say.

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