Did Ann Romney really blame the media for her husband’s loss in the 2012 presidential election? That’s the buzz making the D.C. rounds Monday morning in the wake of Ann and Mitt Romney’s interview Sunday with Chris Wallace on Fox News.
The Ann-blames-the-liberal-Main-Stream-Media idea stems primarily from a quick exchange that she had with Mr. Wallace. At one point, she’s talking about how voters never got to see what a great guy Mitt is, and she says that was the fault of both the campaign and the media.
Wallace then asked her, “What about the media?”
“I’m happy to blame the media,” Mrs. Romney replied, to general laughter in the studio.
As you can see from that context, she was not blaming the media only for the Republican defeat. She wasn’t even blaming the MSM exclusively for the particular problem she was citing.
In fact, we think that Ann and Mitt Romney together on Sunday laid out a pretty accurate three-point description of why the latter today is not president of the United States.
Turnout. Both Romneys said that on Election Day, they thought they were going to win. Mr. Romney said he felt that energy and enthusiasm were with the voters on their side.
But Mrs. Romney points out that this belief was wrong. “I think they had a better ground game,” she said of the Obama campaign.
“I don’t think we were as aware of the passion that was coming from the other side. I think we were a little blindsided by that,” she added to Wallace.
That’s indeed what happened. The Obama team found voters where the Romney campaign did not think Democrats existed. While Romney officials hit turnout targets in many Ohio precincts, they did not count on their Obama counterparts upping the ante in this way.
Image. The media blame surfaced in the midst of a more general discussion of Romney’s image. His wife said that the US never got to see the man she knows – compassionate, real, and so forth. Instead they saw a caricature of a plutocrat.
She blamed their own effort for this, as well as the media. Wallace asked about reports that she and her son Tagg complained that the campaign did not “let Mitt be Mitt.”
“It was partly – it’s true,” Mrs. Romney said in response.
What she didn’t add was that her own husband didn’t help. He declined to advertise his Mormonism, despite the fact that many of his church efforts involved charitable work that put him in a humanizing light. And nobody forced him to say the words caught on the infamous “47 percent” tape.
“It was a very unfortunate statement that I made,” Romney himself said on Sunday.
Minority outreach. As has been extensively documented since the campaign, minority voters flocked to President Obama in unprecedented numbers. This doomed Romney despite the fact that he won a near-record percentage of the white vote.
Romney gets this, apparently. “The weakness that our campaign had and that I had is we weren’t effective in taking my message primarily to minority voters – to Hispanic-Americans, African-Americans, other minorities,” he told Wallace.
So in the end Ann and Mitt blamed ... themselves. Plus the media and the opposition. That’s pretty comprehensive, no?