It sounds as if presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s camp has given up on trying to make him more likeable and made the argument that is logical but has often not worked in American politics:
It’s not about personality, likeability. It’s all about issues. In this case, the economy. It doesn’t sound like they will try to make Romney seem “cool” (which probably means their ads will try to make Obama look uncool and supremely arrogant):
Focusing tightly on their campaign’s economy-first message, a pair of Mitt Romney’s top advisers on Saturday dismissed recent efforts by the president to reach out to younger voters and the so-called “likability gap” between President Barack Obama and the presumptive GOP nominee with a simple argument: The 2012 election is not a popularity contest.
“This election is not going to be about who’s cooler,” Romney senior adviser Peter Flaherty said at a Washington Post Live Newsmaker Forum. “The question is going to be, who do you trust to run the economy?”
Eric Fehrnstrom, another top Romney adviser, also criticized Obama for his appearance earlier this week on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” on the University of North Carolina campus, where the president “Slow Jammed the News.” Fehrnstrom said the president’s performace was “off key,” and showed inappropriate levity about an issue – the possible doubling of student loan interest rates – that deserved to be taken more seriously.
“You won’t see the governor slow jam the news,” Fehrnstrom said, not discounting the possibility Romney could appear on more late-night talk shows or even “Saturday Night Live,” thanks to the ability of those shows to reach voters who normally don’t follow politics as closely.
And while Fehrnstrom predicted Americans would “fall in love with” Ann and Mitt Romney as the election progressed, the advisers’ downplaying of personal popularity in favor of an economic-competency argument is consistent with Romney’s own recent comments on the stump.
“Even if you like Barack Obama, we can’t afford Barack Obama,” Romney said at a campaign event in North Carolina on Wednesday.
Prediction: Romney will indeed do a late night shows and Saturday night live and maybe a daytime show (will he be on The View?). His advisors are already lowering expectations about how he’ll compare to Obama. Meanwhile, his campaign and/or Super PACS campaign will run ads to try and show him not likeable but “too cool.” If Obama’s plus is he’s cool they will — as Republicans successful do — try and turn that into a negative.
Could it work? Only if coupled with a truly serious and accurate alternate program of what Romney would do. It’s likely to be a close race but if you look at American political history the more likeable (even if the likeability was a well-pulled off sham) person has usually won…like it or not.
Meanwhile, now Obama reportedly has Bill Clinton (with his high poll numbers) out there working for his re-election.