Why Mitt Romney’s ‘zinger’ strategy may backfire


Mitt Romney plans to unleash a new arsenal of zingers against President Obama during next week’s first presidential debate. But critics are saying his secret weapon may backfire.

“I don’t think of [Romney] as a zinger kind of guy to which Obama is expected to be left helpless,” msnbc host Chris Matthews said on Monday’s Hardball.

Democratic strategist Bob Shrum agreed. “Zingers don’t exist in a vacuum. It’s not just coming up with some funny lines. They have to be part of the fabric of the argument and part of the fabric of who the person is.”

According to the New York Times, Team Romney has decided the debates are about “creating moments,” and has armed the White House hopeful with a number of “zingers” he has memorized and has been practicing since August.

Shrum added that Romney’s seemingly clever lines may seem forced.

“I know [Romney’s advisers] don’t want [Romney] to be spontaneous because he’ll say the wrong thing. But to deliver  prepared, funny lines seems to me to be one of the hardest tasks, perhaps even harder than telling us what’s in his tax plan,” he said.

Salon’s Joan Walsh added, unlike Romney, Obama has the “capacity to be totally in the moment and to be totally funny” on his feet.
Meanwhile, when Romney acts spontaneously—as with his 47% remark —Romney comes across as “not a terribly likeable person,” Walsh said.

Debates, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama

Why Mitt Romney's 'zinger' strategy may backfire