Chuck Todd: Mitt’s ‘optimistic nostalgia’ could leave him open to attack


Mitt Romney’s theme of “optimistic nostalgia” was well-received by Republican convention-goers, but could it open him up to attacks from the Obama campaign that he lacks a forward-looking vision? That’s what msnbc’s Chuck Todd suggested Thursday night.

“A two-word phrase that I’ve given to the speech is ‘optimistic nostalgia,’” Todd, the host of msnbc’s Daily Rundown, told Rachel Maddow. “I was struck by how many times I felt like I heard phrases that included the words ‘return to,’ ‘restore to.’ And it played very well in this crowd, and I’ve heard that before.”

But Todd added that there’s a risk to embracing that theme.

“It also reminded me of another recent nominee’s speech that did that. And at the time it played well, but it handed the incumbent Democratic president something to run against. And that was Bob Dole in ‘96, and Bill Cinton. Bob Dole was talking about nostalgia, where he was almost trying to paint the the Clinton presidency as … sort of a bump that got in the way of the story of America. And I felt like that’s what Romney was trying to do tonight. But I think there’s a risk there, if you look like you’re looking too nostalgic. Are you looking forward enough?”

Todd said he thinks the Romney campaign is aware of the problem.

“Now I actually think that they’ve worried about that,” he said. “Because I heard at the end the word ‘future’ three times, to say ‘no, no, no, we are talking about the future.’ But [optimistic nostalgia] just felt like the whole theme. And I wouldn’t be surprised if you see the Obama folks sort of respond to this sort of nostalgic past, to try to move forward.”

Maddow appeared to agree. “There is a reason why Obama picked that campaign slogan, ‘forward,’ I think anticiapting that kind of nostalgia that you’re talking about, Chuck,” she said.