Romney campaign reverses position, allows press to cover fundraiser in Israel

CNN | The Wall Street Journal | NBC News | Newsweek

The campaign of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney let reporters cover a fundraiser in Israel on Monday morning after first saying they wouldn't be allowed in. The campaign normally allows pool coverage of fundraisers in public places. A press aide didn't offer any reason why the campaign had wanted to keep the press out, but reports noted that billionaire Sheldon Adelson was expected to be there. (Not only was he there, he sat right next to Romney.)

The Wall Street Journal's Sara Murray notes that Romney's fundraisers can turn out to be pretty newsworthy:

The likely Republican nominee told donors in Florida this year that he would consider massively shrinking the Education Department and eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development to meet his budget goals. He also offered clearer details about which tax deductions he would scrap if he were president. That event, which was closed to the press, was overheard by reporters on a public sidewalk. Mr. Romney still has not offered any of those details in a public event.

NBC News' Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Domenico Montanaro argue that the flap over access to the fundraiser is part of a larger issue of transparency with Romney.

Newsweek, meanwhile, says that Romney's big problem isn't transparency; it's wimpiness. "The wimp factor: Is he just too insecure to be president?" reads the latest cover, à la George H.W. Bush.

Published 25 years apart, these Newsweek covers attach "wimp" to presidential candidates.

Michael Tomasky refers to Newsweek's 1987 cover that declared that "the wimp factor" was George W. Bush's "most persistent political liability":

In 1987, this magazine created a famous hubbub by labeling George H.W. Bush a “wimp” on its cover. “The Wimp Factor.” Huge stir. And not entirely fair—the guy had been an aviator in the war, the big war, the good war, and he was even shot down out over the Pacific, cockpit drenched in smoke and fumes, at an age (20) when in most states he couldn’t even legally drink a beer.

In retrospect, he writes, Bush looks tougher than Romney, who spent Vietnam in Paris. Tomasky can't seem to decide if "wimp" is really the right word. Among the words he chooses to describe Romney: "lame," "annoying" and "insecure."

Romney is the genuine article: a true wimp. Oh, there are some ways in which he’s not—a wimp lets himself get kicked around, and Romney doesn’t exactly do that. He sure didn’t during the primaries, when he strafed Rick Perry and carpet-bombed Rick Santorum (but note that they were both weaker than he).

In some respects, he’s more weenie than wimp—socially inept; at times awkwardy ingratiating, at other times mocking those “below” him, but almost always getting the situation a little wrong, and never in a sympathetic way.

New York magazine's Jonathan Chait offers a thorough takedown of the premise: "Newsweek would surely love to cause another huge stir and to enrage the Romneys, but it’s doubtful they would even notice any more."

Related: Time breastfeeding cover inspires the ‘conversation’ newsweeklies want | How provocative covers sell magazines (even when they don’t sell magazines)

  • Steve Myers

    Steve Myers was the managing editor of until August 2012, when he became the deputy managing editor and senior staff writer for The Lens, a nonprofit investigative news site in New Orleans.


Related News

Email IconGroup 3Facebook IconLinkedIn IconsearchGroupTwitter IconGroup 2YouTube Icon