Mitt Romney has slowly developed a reputation as a politician who ducks tough questioning or tricky media appearances – not my words, but the view from some Romney supporters.
Jennifer Rubin, a conservative Washington Post blogger who is often quick to praise Romney, wrote on Monday:
“It remains a mystery why Mitt Romney has done relatively few interviews. [His November 29 Fox interview might have gone better] had it been one of dozens of TV interviews he’d given during the campaign. … He’s been the least interviewed candidate in the race.”
Rich Galen is a former GOP strategist who is neutral in the current race for the presidential candidacy. On Tuesday, he remarked:
“The lack of engagement strategy has served Romney pretty well. Now I think they’ve got to alter course and get him out there more.”
Such views seem to have got through to Romney. Late on Tuesday, the presidential candidate announced he would increase media access to himself, agreeing to more in-depth interviews and holding his third press conference in four days.
He’ll still appear on Fox a lot, on Monday telling Fox News that, “I’ll be on Fox a lot, because you guys matter when it comes to Republican primary voters,” but will also open up more to other outlets. Romney is scheduled to appear on “Fox News Sunday” on December 18 – it will be his first national Sunday talk show in nearly two years.
Romney currently trails former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in GOP polls, and the Romney campaign is keen to avoid the assumption that their man avoids tough political reporters. This reputation wasn’t dimmed by Romney’s bristling responses in a November 29 appearance on Fox, answering questions to Fox News’ Bret Baier.
I have a proposal for Mr. Romney: get to the UK for an hour with Paxman and I’ll believe the change is real.