It looks like Mitt Romney won’t be shaking his image as a rich, white elitist anytime soon, mostly because he doesn’t seem to be trying to change it. On the latest stop of his bus tour, Romney stopped in Iowa to get in touch with farmers feeling the pain of severe drought.
Who did he choose to talk to? A fellow millionaire, a real estate mogul who owns 54 separate farms and a house that slightly resembles the Space Needle, complete with an underground garage and a car wash.
“The farmer of the 1%,” as Rev. Al Sharpton described him on Friday’s PoliticsNation. Romney now trails President Obama by 7 points in the polls, and Rev. Al and Democratic strategist Bob Shrum say this campaign choice is a prime example of how he “lost the summer.”
The new polls spell out exactly how little progress Romney has made in relating to the average Joe. According to CNN, 64% of Americans believe Romney favors the rich – that’s compared to 76% of Americans who believe Obama favors the middle class and the poor.
Rev. Al asked Shrum, an NYU professor and Daily Beast columnist, if Romney is definitely losing at this point.
“Right now he is, for sure. That visit to the farmer is typical, that’s Mitt’s kind of farmer. The next thing you know he’ll go to a 4-star restaurant that has a $300 pre-fix and call it a food bank. Doesn’t he have an advance staff? He’s very good at making his own mistakes and he has a campaign that’s flailing,” Shrum said. “What’s happened this summer is the Obama campaign has succeeded in defining Romney and it’s succeeded in defining the terms of choice – who stands up for the middle class.”
By now, Sharpton reasoned, shouldn’t he have figured out some of his vulnerabilities? That includes - you guessed it - his tax returns.
Shrum said the root of Romney’s problem is that he failed to properly prepare to run for president:
“This is a guy who had 18 years to get ready for these Bain attacks. He doesn’t have an answer, his answers are lame, they’re clichés like “the free enterprise system.” If he knew he was going to run for president, and I think he’s known it all his adult life, but he certainly knew from 2002 on when he got elected governor of Massachusetts, why don’t you sit down with your accountant and make sure you pay a reasonable amount in taxes? Why don’t you say, ‘let’s close those Swiss bank accounts, let’s close those offshore tax havens before you put out any tax returns.’
This is a guy who obviously didn’t get ready, and either the people in his campaign don’t know what they’re doing, or he won’t listen to them. Because I’m sure they sat around the table and said, “We need to get ready for this.” And he just didn’t. He is in a position right now where he can’t release his tax returns. It’s plainly obvious that there’s stuff in there that is so bad that he’d rather just take the heat he’s taking right now.”