Dispatches from Romneyland
Mitt Romney and his supporters are robots. Whether that’s in a real sense, or a metaphoric one, may be a mystery for the ages, since Romney’s PR people kept the collection of reporters at bay during this morning’s National Call Day 2008.
While we couldn’t toss water on him to see if he’d short out, his positive take on his campaign proves he can’t possibly be human.
The lights were low in the grand ballroom of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center at 9 a.m. this morning. Upbeat music played quietly in the background as the conservatively dressed supporters mingled around tables set with black plastic landline phones. The mood in the room was subdued, but not conciliatory.
As we waited for the man of the hour to appear, Romney’s flacks dangled well-known supporters to talk to the media like shark bait. Former Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey stepped up to the microphone. She looked well-rested and confident, which seemed impossible for a woman who supports a candidate so close to the brink of extinction.
“Any candidate would be happy to trade places with Mitt Romney,” she told reporters, a smile frozen on her face.
She’s not living in a dream world. It’s the new mantra of the Romney campaign. They haven’t lost, they’ve actually won. It’s as if someone plugged a new chip into the candidate that only recognizes delegates and not contests. The former governor has nine delegates more than his closest competitor, Mike Huckabee, and with the win he’s counting on in Michigan, the Romney camp still believes it has a shot.
After some opening remarks by campaign staffers, Mitt and Ann came out to thunderous applause and a standing ovation.
“I know it just sounds like words, but we are gonna win Michigan,” Romney said. He went on to thank the supporters for their tireless efforts to raise money for the campaign, and transitioned into his new vision for victory.
“It’s now a battle between Mike Huckabee, John McCain, and myself. And I have won more votes than any other candidate for president. And we have more delegates than any other candidate for president,” Romney told the applauding crowd.
One of the Romney boys explained that the campaign is readying itself for a fight all the way until the Republican convention if a clear-cut winner doesn’t emerge after Super-duper Tuesday. It’s like winning by losing, as long as Huckabee and McCain continue to roughly split the victories.
After his speech, Romney walked around the room, warmly embracing almost everyone he saw. It was a departure from his cold campaign stance and was so unusual even a national reporter commented on the sudden touchy nature of the candidate. But when Romney finally made his way to the media pen, he was all business.
“I understand, in great depths, the needs of an economy,” Romney told reporters.
The campaign is back to emphasizing the former venture capitalist’s business experience, just in time to appeal to voters in economically depressed Michigan. It’s a state that pundits say he must win, but he doesn’t agree.
“There were so many rules about what you have to do that have broken already that I’m not willing to make that characterization,” Romney told a reporter who asked if the state was a must-win. He took a few more questions, then left the building with a quick “Off to Michigan!” and a wave to his applauding supporters.