Politico columnist: Romney fails to mention troops, then gives ‘distasteful,’ ‘dehumanizing’ explanation


Mitt Romney responded on Friday to John Kerry and other Democrats who criticized his failure to thank the troops or mention Afghanistan in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, saying he doesn’t regret anything about his address.  Chris Matthews and guests examined that response on Friday’s Hardball, ultimately finding it “distasteful,” and an example of his inability to connect with veterans and military families the way Obama has. 

“When giving a speech, you don’t go through a laundry list of things; you go over things you think are important,” Romney told Fox News’ Bret Baier. “I didn’t use the word ‘troops.’ I used the word ‘military.’ I think they refer to the same thing.”

Matthews spoke to Roger Simon, Chief Political Columnist for Politico, about how Democrats are successfully rebranding their party as “the party of patriotism and the party of strength,” and Republicans are having to play catch up on military issues and foreign policy. Matthews said that not only do Romney and Ryan have no military experience, but neither of them have any concern or curiosity about foreign policy.

And that’s one reason Simon found Romney’s Fox interview so unsatisfactory:

“That is what’s so unpleasant, distasteful if you will, about Romney’s reply on Fox. Imagine you’re a troop in Afghanistan. It’s 110 degrees, you’re walking around with a pack and a weapon on, or you have a loved one who is, and you hear him or her referred to as ‘a laundry list’… You know, that’s dehumanizing of what these people are doing. But to Romney, it’s just another issue. ‘Oh, I don’t need to deal with that in this speech, it’s just a laundry list.’ It’s not a ‘laundry list,’ it’s human beings.”

Retired Air Force Colonel P.J. Crowley agreed, particularly about what it means to be in the warzone.

“The difference is, Obama and Biden have been there with the troops. Romney and Ryan have not,” he said.