Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Three costly words for Mitt? 'I didn't inherit'

Good morning. Welcome to O-Pinion, the Observer editorial board's place for commentary and discussion. I'm associate editor Fannie Flono, your host today.

It's election day in Florida and early signs point to a huge Mitt Romney win over Newt Gingrich in the Republican primary. But you never know. Voters are still voting, and nothing's over until the voting and counting are done.

Still, Mitt Romney has a commanding lead on Gingrich, his closest Florida rival, according to the National Journal. The Quinnipiac University poll had him up 14 points over Gingrich at 43 percent to 29 percent. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., were each at 11 percent. A Suffolk University poll had Romney with almost a majority of expected voters, 47 percent to Gingrich's 27 percent.

Still Kelli Goff thinks Romney has already sealed his fate as a loser if he gets the GOP nod. In a piece for the liberal Huffington Post , she writes about what she calls "The three words that will cost Mitt Romney the election." Those words: "I didn't inherit."

She takes note of previous presidential races and the seminal moments and phrases that have plagued candidates: The 1980 campaign, she notes, had the query from Ronald Reagan, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" In 1988, George Bush the elder skewered Democrat Michael Dukakis with the campaign ad about prison inmate Willie Horton. 1992, Bill Clinton had a good moment, "It's the economy stupid" and a not-so good one, "I didn't inhale."

Romney has stumbled in dealing with questions about his wealth at a time when rage against the widening income disparity in the U.S. has taken root with the Occupy movement. Couple that with a style that's often wooden and makes him come off as fake and unbelievable, and his "I didn't inherit" rang hollow to some. Goff says in her piece, "Within minutes of Romney debuting the 'I didn't inherit' line nationally, the New York Times had already debunked it with his own words. According to an earlier interview, he did inherit money upon his father's death. Romney claims he and his wife chose to donate the money to charity. That makes sense, considering the younger Romney was nearly 50 when his father passed and was already extremely wealthy by that point, helped along in no small part by his father's wealth and connections. Besides his entry into Harvard, which has served as a finishing school for the sons and daughters of political leaders of both major American political parties over the years, his father fronted he and his wife the funds for their first home."

Romney will have bigger issues to overcome should he become the GOP nominee, as his opponents in this bruising battle for the Republican crown keep pointing out. Romneycare and Obamacare, they note, are twin sisters. Still, the wealth issue - or more to the point, how Romney has handled the issue with the public - could remain a pebble in his shoe, creating a persistent ache all season long.

Speaking of Romneycare, Gingrich has his own questions to answer about his support of a health care individual mandate, according to the conservative Weekly Standard. Here's the recently discovered audio clip from May of 2009. His campaign is defending his past support as only a "conceptual discussion." Ummm.


steve said...

Fannie--your phrase in paragraph 6 should read "him and his wife", not "he and his wife".

telamon said...

Actually, Steve, the sentence is correct as it is. If you don't believe it, remove "and his wife" and read it again.

Back to the article. If Romney and Gingrich are the best candidates the Republicans can put forward, there's no way they will win, even with Obama's low approval ratings.

Jo O'Keefe said...

This column or editorial has a number of grammatical errors. I noticed them while reading it, not when I saw the comments following it. I am disappointed in the Charlotte Observer today.

steve said...

telamon...your suggestion would mean that it should read "fronted he the funds for their first home". Obviously, that is not correct.

telamon said...

Ha! You're right. The phrase "he and his wife" also appears earlier in the paragraph where he claimed to give the money to charity. That's what I saw first and commented on. The usage is correct there, but not where you noted. Mea culpa.

BiBr said...

I think Fannie is being a bit hasty in regards to Mitt's statement about "inheriting." Mitt obviously has the brains and know-how to be successful on his own and likely would have risen to the top with or without his father's money.

steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve said...

@telemon...te absolvo.

Jo O'Keefe said...

Unfortunately there is more between the lines than in them. Google Keli Goff. Although the reputation of the Observer is affected by the quality of its writers, the issue in this column is dislike of Romney and the writer's searching for grounds to justify it. Not finding objectivity is disappointing. Romney is not responsible for the field of Republican candidates.

Anonymous said...

"his father fronted he and his wife ".

Isn't that a quote from Goff?

If so, then Fanny didn't write it and shouldn't change it without noting it.

Maybe put in one of those little "[sic]" things.

kantstanzya said...

Nice editorial. And typical.

The Huffington Post. Fannie Flono. Class warfare. Romney is in BIG trouble. Why? Because he was successful.

The post admits Romney made his own fortune and didn't inherit anything until he was 50. Then he gave that money to charity. Terrible. Just terrible. And his parents may have helped him buy his first home. Gasp...Gasp. That's never happened before. At least he didn't have convicted criminal Tony Rezko help with his first home.

Come to think of it having a rich president won't be so bad. At least we don't have to worry the reason he is in Washington is to see how much money he can make off the gig and for the perks of the office.

"Rage against the widening income disparity in the U.S.has taken root." This rage hasn't just taken root...it has been eagerly and carefully nurtured by someone who was supposed to be the President of ALL the people. He has instead become the most polarizing president in history with a vendetta against traditional American values.

Yes I am sure the Democrats will exploit Romney for his success and maybe even turn the phrase "I did not inherit" against him. I only hope Romney, or whoever is the nominee, will copy the old Reagan phrase which is even more apropos today than it was in 1980 with our record unemployed, underemployed, people in poverty and increased hopelessness and lack of optimism of the American people...."Are you better off now than you were four years ago?"

But even a better question will be "are you going to be better off with four more years of Obama and in the direction he is taking us? And can America survive andother four years?"

Garth Vader said...

Three costly words for Taylor "million dollar house in gated community" Batten:

"I married up."