Mitt Romney told Bret Baier on Fox News today that he did not talk about the troops in his convention speech because, “You don’t go through a laundry list; you talk about the things you think are important.”
In full context, he said, “When you give a speech, you don’t go thru a laundry list; you talk about things you think are important. And I described in my speech a commitment to a strong military, unlike the President’s decision to cut our military, and I didn’t use the word troops, I used the word military, and I think (giggling) they refer to the same thing.”
Except, of course, he wasn’t thanking the military; rather, he was referring to its size while inaccurately criticizing Obama for allegedly cutting the military.
Okay. Let’s just get right to this one, because if you don’t see it for yourself you will not believe Mitt Romney is this bad at campaigning:
In other words, the troops are not important. This shouldn’t surprise anyone because Mitt Romney’s advisers told us that Romney wouldn’t tell us his plans for Afghanistan because “real Americans” don’t care about our plans for Afghanistan. This implied — by accident, I’m sure — that the troops who are deployed or in line to be deployed are not real Americans.
Since I know many active duty troops, I have to say that in fact, they and their families care very much about Romney’s Afghanistan plans. It’s hard to understand how the Romney campaign can be so tone deaf that they can’t even pretend to care about the concerns of the people he is seeking to govern.
Of course, sadly, many Republicans were led to believe that President Obama started that war. At the RNC, Clint Eastwood yelled at his empty chair about how it wasn’t a very good idea that Obama had to start that war. The Eastwooding went like this, “You thought the war in Afghanistan was OK. I mean, you thought that was something that was worth doing. We didn’t check with the Russians to see how they did there for 10 years. But we did it.”
Yikes. For the record, the Afghanistan war was started under George W. Bush, as was the Iraq war, and TARP.
A serious political candidate doesn’t say that they didn’t include the troops in their speech because they talked about what was important. This is just another example of the British press dubbed ‘Mitt the Twit’ on display in his Foreign Policy Debacle Tour.
While we’re on the subject, Obama did not exactly cut funding the military. Romney should be blaming his running mate for that, as Paul Ryan killed the debt commission deals over his fanatical adherence to his imaginary idea of Ayn Rand’s fictional character’s ideology (also known as not allowing taxes to be raised even the teeniest percentage on the wealthy).
The Washington Post factchecked Romney on this:
“His trillion-dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also put our security at greater risk.”
Romney here attributes planned cuts to the military entirely to Obama, but they actually are the result of a 2011 budget deal between Obama and congressional Republicans, which avoided a default on the national debt.
Leaders agreed to include additional automatic cuts to the military as an incentive to reach a broader budget deal, but a congressional “supercommittee” failed to reach an agreement. Obama has proposed raising taxes on the wealthy to end the impasse, but congressional Republicans have rejected that proposal.
Paul Ryan, responsible for the failure of the Simpson-Bowles compromise that led to the military cuts, was also part of the super secret Republican meeting plotting the demise of President Obama the night of his inauguration, while suggesting publicly that the President refused to compromise with them.
It’s not just that Romney failed to mention the troops or thank them, he also failed to mention the wars. How do you run for President during a war and not even mention it in your acceptance speech? He is the “first Republican since 1952 to accept his party’s nomination without mentioning war.”
Aside from the gleefully clueless public relations aspect of Romney’s open mouth insert foot fetish and his bizarre giggling when called out on things, you have to wonder why Mitt Romney is claiming that he didn’t watch the President’s speech. If he’s telling the truth and he didn’t watch it, what is he doing criticizing it? He’s inaccurately criticizing the speech, that’s what he’s doing.
Mitt Romney is one of the most bizarre, weird candidates ever to run for President. Who let him fail to thank our troops and who let him tell Fox News that he would have mentioned them if they were important in the laundry list?
For a campaign that took Obama’s words out of context in order to create their entire platform (“you didn’t build that”) to allow their candidate to utter sound bites this disastrous on the friendly Republican propaganda network is just plain incompetence. Bret Baier’s face says it all. He looks at Romney like, “What the heck? I’m giving you a chance to fix this!”
To which Romney responds: Giggle giggle. Troops, military, same thing.
Except that Mitt Romney never mentioned the folks who are fighting for America, and yet he keeps banging war drums against Iran. He never even mentioned the troops fighting for us. As Republican Bill Kristol lamented, “What about the civic propriety of a presidential nominee failing even to mention, in his acceptance speech, a war we’re fighting and our young men and women who are fighting it?”
Well, Bill, your candidate thinks mentioning the size of the military is the same thing as talking about the people in it. The military is a machine to Mitt Romney, to be utilized at will. He doesn’t think talking about the troops is “important.”
Contrast that with what Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki said about President Obama, “We could not ask for a stronger advocate. We’ve made tremendous progress under this president’s leadership. But there is much more to be done for the men and women who guarantee our way of life. They have served selflessly—with unmatched valor, sacrifice, and distinction. And President Obama is determined that we will repay the debt we owe them.”
It’s not that we’re playing “gotcha” with Romney; it’s that his gaffes don’t appear to be gaffes, they appear to reflect or at the very least inadvertently reinforce his refusal to talk about his policies and the way he views the people he wants to govern. Additionally, his gaffes are endless and instead of repairing them, he doubles down on them. This is a man running for leader of the free world, yet he seems incapable, even on his friendly network, of acting the part of a diplomat.
Why on earth would he go on Fox News and claim that he talked about what was important and that is why he left out mention of the wars and the troops? And worse yet, his original omission was not a gaffe, and his claim today that the troops weren’t important enough for the laundry list reaffirms what his adviser said about Romney’s plans for Afghanistan not being important to “real Americans”. As for his suggestion that he mentioned the troops because he referred to the military size, even Bill Kristol didn’t buy that.
It’s not as if Romney has military cred. Mitt Romney claimed that he did not avoid active service, telling the Boston Globe, “It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft.” But this is not true.
The facts are that while advocating for the draft, Mitt Romney asked for and got four draft deferments. In 2007, Mitt Romney said that his sons are not fighting for the country because “one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected.”
Mitt Romney should, by all accounts, be working hard to craft an image of someone who appreciates the troops, but instead he blows his chance to repair the omission in his speech by making it worse. Mitt Romney is war-mongering about Iran, but not with his kids. Given this fact, he should at least have acknowledged those fighting for us.
Someone needs to reboot Mitt Romney before he manages to wake the American press up from their slumber.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.