Friday, February 24, 2012

Mitt Romney's Speech From Ford Field

ABC News has the killer headline, "Mitt Romney’s Ford Field Fumble?" (Via Memeorandum.)

And see New York Times, "For Romney, a Message Lost in the Empty Seats":

DETROIT — Mitt Romney set out on Friday to deliver a sweeping and sober vision for how to revive the American economy in a major policy speech here. In the end, he delivered something else as well: an unintended lesson about how poor visuals and errant words can derail a candidate’s message in this modern political news culture.

In an unusual choice, Mr. Romney gave his speech inside Ford Field, a cavernous indoor football stadium with 65,000 seats.

To the television audience, it appeared perfectly normal. Mr. Romney could be seen standing at a lectern in front of a backdrop that had the logo of the Detroit Economic Club, the event’s host. And when the audience — about 1,200 people — clapped, they filled the screen as cameras panned across them.

But in the age of Twitter and the Internet, that is not all that matters.

Before Mr. Romney had uttered a word, reporters began posting pictures online showing the stadium from every available angle — almost empty, except for the chairs set up on the field itself, near the 20-yard line.

Row after row of barren blue seats across the giant stadium made the crowd seem minuscule. Across the Web, a storyline for the day began to take hold that undercut and detracted from Mr. Romney’s words: big speech, tiny crowd.

Ordinarily, such imagery might be overwhelmed by the news of the day: a highly anticipated, substantive address packed with previously unknown details. Mr. Romney called for a 20 percent cut in income taxes; handing control of federal welfare programs to the states; and creating private sector competition for Medicare services.

But the Romney campaign had leaked most of the speech’s contents several days ago, leaving members of the news media with little to focus on — except, of course, the scene itself.
And shoot, here I was thinking Romney was gonna get a big boost out of that debate the other night. So here he is shooting himself in the foot?

Man, it ain't over 'till it's over, that's for sure.