Sign in a New Hampshire restaurant: Oh, yeh?
Unfortunately, Mitt Romney's most genuine moments are when he is caught off guard and speaks unscripted. As when he said that "Corporations are people" or offered the $10,000 bet to fellow candidate Texas governor Rick Perry. Or, most recently, on the eve of today's New Hampshire Republican primary, when he said at a breakfast meeting with business leaders, "I enjoy being able to fire people who provide services to me." He was talking about about firing insurance companies but it sounded too much like he received enjoyment from firing employees. Just the wrong thing to say when Americans are hurting from high unemployment. It is very revealing that at a moment when he would be expected to feel most comfortable, around businessmen such as he has been for much of his life, he would say such a thing.
All these unprovoked remarks show that Mr. Romney, a multi-millionaire, is realms away from the average American voter. Not only do many of his own Republicans feel uncomfortable with him but he is proving himself so with a broad swathe of Americans as well. So the question remains whether a Romney coronation is inevitable as the Republican nominee let alone the Republican who will deny President Barack Obama a second term in the White House.
Another significant moment occurred on Sunday morning during the "Meet the Press" Facebook Republican debate when fellow candidate Jon Huntsman, answered Romney's criticism during the debate of the night before that he had worked for President Obama as U.S. Ambassador. The former Utah governor made the salient point that he, Huntsman, would always put the nation first and that the type of Romney's criticism shows what is wrong with the country today. Huntsman followed up his riposte to Romney and the Massachusetts man's gaff about firing insurance companies (read people) -- when he told reporters in Concord, New Hampshire yesterday, "Governor Romney enjoys firing people; I enjoy creating jobs."
It remains to be seen what traction Huntsman can get. Thus far he has seriously lagged in the polls. Is he too moderate for the voters in Republican caucuses and primaries? He didn't campaign in Iowa and has put all his efforts into giving a good showing in New Hampshire. But can he be a valid alternative to Romney when it seems as if many Republicans are looking for a conservative alternative to the former Massachusetts governor? One thing that could benefit him is that unlike in other states, Democrats and unaligned voters can vote in the Republican primary. It will be fascinating to see how the Republican candidates do in today's primary. Stay tuned, playmates.
The first few shots photographs that appear below are not of New Hampshire. They were taken on a recent evening looking into the window of the Thunder Grill, Union Station, Washington, D.C., one of my favorite watering holes. Oh, yes, and it is my sixty-fourth birthday. Why, happy birthday, Chris. Enjoy that Harvey Wallbanger.....
Have another drink, Chris.