Mitt Romney is doing his own Monday morning quarterbacking of his failed 2012 presidential bid and offering one piece of advice for current and future candidates that he feels he should have heeded: operate as if there are cameras charting your every moment and nothing is ever private.
Romney acknowledged one of his most notable missteps in a candid, wide-ranging and deeply personal interview with the New York Times
magazine — a deeply damaging comment he made at what he thought was a private fundraiser, caught on video, leaked online and shared by opponents.
In it, Romney responded off the cuff to a query by someone in a room at a fundraiser, noting that 47 percent of voters would choose Barack Obama "no matter what" and saying in what seemed like, to viewers, a dismissive tone that he didn't "worry about those people" whom he described as "victims" unwilling to take personal responsibility for their lives.
Whatever the former Massachusetts governor meant in his remarks, the damage of that public clip hurt his campaign, prompting him to rethink now how he might handle himself if he had to do it all over again. "The era of spontaneity in politics is over," Romney told the Times.
"I was talking to one of my political advisers, and I said: 'If I had to do this again, I'd insist that you literally had a camera on me at all times' I want to be reminded that this is not off the cuff."
He added: "My mistake was that I was speaking in a way that reflected back to the man," Romney said his "47 percent" gaffe. "If I had been able to see the camera, I would have remembered that I was talking to the whole world, not just the man."
With just seven weeks like in the 2012 race, his comments worried supporters and became an issue he could not shake, the Washington Post
Noted "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough at the time: "This is dangerous — not because he's going to lose that 47 percent of the vote — but because you're going to start seeing suburban voters, swing voters, storm away from the campaign as quickly as possible unless he fixes it."
Of the missteps, added Scarborough, it was "one of the worst weeks for any presidential candidate in a general election that any of us can remember."
Romney, in the wake of disillusionment over the Obama administration, has enjoyed a rebirth of popularity as a wise statesman as the 2016 election cycle begins in earnest.
Some have urged him to reconsider a second run at the White House as he continues to use his political star power to stump for Republicans in tough midterm congressional races. His renewed consideration comes as his party has not yet coalesced around a top contender.
Some speculators have suggested that indeed, he could be pondering a run, even as Romney has been vague when asked directly of his interest, the Huffington Post
Said Romney to the Post: "I have nothing to add to the story. We've got a lot of people looking at the race. We'll see what happens."
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