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Continued: Why the media should go easy on Romney

  • Article by: DANA MILBANK , Washington Post
  • Last update: September 19, 2012 - 1:46 PM

"I have some great friends that are NASCAR team owners."

"There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip."

In addition, Romney frequently gives the media fresh opportunities to rerun the blooper reel with his attempts to explain the original mistakes. This goes back to his explanation for why he strapped his dog Seamus to the top of the family car: The dog "enjoyed himself" up there.

More recently, Romney offered this explanation for his claim that Obama was making America a less Christian nation. "I'm not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was," he said.

Saying zany things and then standing by them: From a presidential nominee, this is newsworthy. From a president, it could be sensational.

Romney caused an international incident when he went to London and spoke of "disconcerting" signs that the Brits weren't prepared to host the Olympics. Were he to do that as president, he could bring trans-Atlantic relations back to War of 1812 levels -- and that would be a big story.

At home, likewise, he has caused consternation with his remark that 47 percent of Americans "believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it" and won't "take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

If he governed that way as president, he could stir up social unrest not seen in half a century -- and that, too, would be quite a story.

Usually, reporters have little trouble recognizing our self-interest. For all of Newt Gingrich's complaints about media bias during his primary candidacy, reporters fantasized about a Gingrich presidency.

We should do the same now as we consider prospects for a Romney presidency: gaffes in news conferences, diplomatic slights or ham-handed attempts to placate conservatives in Congress. This is exactly the man our industry needs.

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