What Should Romney Say During Fox News Interview?
Matthew Hindman, an associate professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University, said Romney's remarkable lack of understanding of the shift in today's media environment pressed him into his current debacle. Candidates have to know anything they say can be recorded, he said. But candidates and their political advisers have a knack for deflecting surprising attacks. So will Romney be able to emerge better off?
"The tenor or Romney's remarks are so consistent with the caricature of Romney presented by his attackers that it will be difficult to spin this one away," said Matthew Hindman, an associate professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University.
Joseph Tuman, a political communications expert at San Francisco State University, said despite what Romney may say today, "He would have never said this in public. His words are his words now. The best he could do is say, 'Sorry I said that,' and hopefully get back on the message of jobs."
On the other hand, conservatives such as Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh want Romney to stand by his comments and, perhaps, go even further in explaining the reasoning behind his comments.
"This could be the opportunity for Romney, and for that campaign, to finally take the gloves off and take the fear off and just start explaining conservatism, start explaining liberty to people and what it means," Limbaugh said on his radio show Tuesday.
Slate blogger Matty Yglesias suggested Romney could use the interview to explain details of tax cuts he has proposed. His campaign advisers promised the press this week that Romney would start getting into more specifics soon after all.
Chris Cilizza at the Washington Post includes "being more specific" as one of his points on how Romney can turn things around in the news cycle. He also adds that Romney needs to reassure rural conservative voters who fall into the "47 percent."
"Romney needs to show that he understands how critical the values message is to lots and lots of people who should be voting for him this fall," Cillizza writes. Romney needs badly to show these folks that he is not just a wealthy businessman who cares about taxes and nothing else. He needs to look them in the eye and make clear he gets them."
Tuman said Romney can't say he didn't really mean his words -- because he would come off has pandering to rich donors -- and he can't ignore what he said either. And even if Romney used the opportunity to offer details about his tax cuts and how that would spur job growth, he would only be feeding the Democratic message that all he cares about his tax cuts for the rich.
"In the context of so many other goofs this election, what it really shows is someone who doesn't seem to know how to campaign," Tuman said. "The last thing you want right before the debates is a constant news steam of stories not flattering to Romney."