Mitt-Tastrophe Avoided

Rom-knee capped!
Mitt gets Rick-rolled!
Red Dawn 2: forget the Ruskies, this time, it’s Rick!

So if you stumbled through the offices of newspaper editors across the country (New York Post, you know I’m pointing at you) these are the now discarded headlines from mock-up front pages likely lying all over office floors Wednesday. For those of you unfamiliar with that last headline, it’s an 80’s movie reference. Great flick!

Anyway, It seems everyone was primed to pounce on what would have been an embarrassing Mitt Romney loss in his home state…and whew! Romney could probably wring an entire assembly-line sized bucket of sweat from whatever Brooks Brothers handkerchief he used to wipe his brow while watching returns.

NPR quoted one Romney staffer as saying he was so glad to “get this Michigan monkey off his back.”

"I can't wait to get this big Michigan monkey off my back," a Mitt Romney campaign staffer just said, reports NPR's @Ari_Shapiro.

— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) February 29, 2012

Yes, the pundits will have their fun harping on how narrow the victory was or how he should have performed significantly better in a state he was born, raised and the son of the Wolverine State’s governor. And they may just be right.

But consider the math. Even if Romney had lost, it would be more symbolic than anything. The split of delegates in Michigan (proportionate as mandated by a mad RNC since Michigan voted early) were going to be pretty even by the end of the night. Plus, Mitt easily took Arizona, which is a winner-take-all state, and that meant regardless of whom took the trophy in MI, Mitt was quietly padding his delegate count. And let’s be honest, the last laugh usually belongs to the guy who can point behind him and say “scoreboard.”

But the challenge before him is still “super” to say the least…as in, Super Tuesday.

In four of the 10 states to vote next Tuesday, Romney has big problems. He’s lagging in the polls in Ohio, Georgia, Oklahoma & Tennessee. Why does that matter? Because combined, those states account for 243 delegates (remember, Romney currently only has 167-depending on which count you use).

Granted, he should coast in other states with big tallies like Massachusetts & Virginia but there is a possibility that the race actually tightens Tuesday night.

Oh, and did I mention that he’s got another opponent besides Santorum, Gingrich and Paul in key states like Ohio? President Obama. Our partners at POLITICO point out that starting Thursday, Priorities USA, the Obama Super PAC will be running TV spots in the Buckeye State in hopes of taking the wind out of Romney’s already, slightly tattered sails.

Finally, time is not on his side. I say this only because it’s easy to relate. Mitt Romney admits he’s making a lot of mistakes on the trail these days, verbal gaffes, snafus. Displaying a sometimes ‘too wealthy to connect’ image that he’s dying to shed.

It’s not a good idea to mention that your wife drives “a couple of Cadillacs” or when attending a NASCAR event, to evoke imagery of weekly high-stakes poker games with car owners:

Having been on TV for my share of years, I chalk this up to a simple formula: Exhaustion equals errors.

We all miss the mark when you talk endlessly in front of the cameras after pulling a couple of double shifts. You’re tired and not vetting every sentence that comes out of your mouth.

Now multiply whatever fatigue most of us have on a daily basis by 100. That’s what each of these candidates is dealing with. Life on the trail is a series of speeches (sometimes five a day), fundraisers, meetings, phone calls and plane rides. You can’t always be your “A” game and that’s what we’re seeing with Romney.

Unfortunately there’s no rest for the weary and more mistakes will be made.

Alright, so in the end I guess I joined the fray in pointing out Romney’s hurdles, just not with such whit and not as the headline. They’re subplots. Yes, substantial, but not the headlines just yet.

Don’t fret though, if the time comes to tap into whatever clever creativity still exists in these fatigued fingers and conjure up a headline worthy of being above the fold, I’ll show more “en-THU-siasm”

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