Mitt Romney Can't Take the Heat (?)

Mitt Romney

Whenever Mitt Romney felt threatened by his competition in the Republican presidential primary, he (along with his Super PAC-running supporters) unloaded on the opposition. One-time front runner Newt Gingrich said he felt “Romney-boated” and challenged the former Massachusetts governor and financier to only run positive ads. He also claimed that the ads “drove down participation” and was “starting to wear thin on people.”

Romney didn’t stop and Newton ultimately fizzled away in the race – with some suggesting he was effectively “wronged.”

Another Romney foe – Rick Santorum – also assailed him on his negative campaigning, declaring, "In the end, Mitt Romney's ugly attacks are going to backfire." They did not, though Romney ultimately did give Santorum a reprieve. That is, after he temporarily shut down his campaign to attend to his ailing daughter Bella.

Sweet, sweet Mittens: Your gentle gesture still moves my spirit.

At one point during the primary, Romney told the anchors on Fox & Friends about criticism over his negative ads: “This is politics. If you can’t stand the heat in this little kitchen, wait until Obama’s 'hell kitchen' turned up the heat.”

Funny, months later and it is now Mitt Romney who is complaining about being a victim of negative campaigning.

First came the Romney campaign’s call for the Obama team to apologize to Mitt after top staffers accused Romney’s former company, Bain Capital, of outsourcing jobs and suggesting the ex-CEO may have committed a felony with his SEC filing.

President Obama’s position on that: Yeah, no.

Meanwhile, in response to two separate ads from the Obama campaign that hit hard at Romney and his past life at Bain, the Republican presidential nominee has unveiled one of his on.

In a statement accompanying the ad, the campaign states: "It seems like a lifetime ago that candidate Obama was talking about hope and change. Today, after four years of broken promises, President Obama is left to simply run 'negative' and 'inaccurate' ads." 

Pot, meet Kettle. Frick, say hello to Frack. Captain, allow me to introduce your pal, Obvious.

I’d rather be chastised by Paula Deen for loving butter too much than to entertain complaints from Mitt Romney about negativity and inaccuracy.

CBS host Bob Schieffer, who appears in this very ad, has hammered at the Romney campaigning for using his likeness without permission and for taking his quote of context.

I’d rather be chastised by Paula Deen for loving butter too much than to entertain complaints from Mitt Romney about negativity and inaccuracy.

On his show Sunday, Schieffer said of the “What happened to hope and change?” question used as a sound bite in the new Romney ad: “That was a question that I posed to David Axelrod for the president's campaign manager. I wasn't stating something there. I was asking somebody else a question.”

FOX’s Megyn Kelly has expressed displeasure with the turn both campaigns have taken.

On Monday’s edition of American Live, Kelly accused both campaigns of “talking out of both sides of their mouth.” She then noted: “There’s such a turnoff, both sides, the way they run this race. The American people are disgusted with this kind of politics. Am I wrong?”

Yes, but that’s okay considering your place of employment.

As much as select members of the press like to patronize viewers by way of bemoaning negative campaigning, it is, was, and forever shall be effective.

In his thoughtful essay, “Nuke ‘Em,” New York magazine’s Frank Rich set aside idealistic views of American democracy and kept it plain: “The president, any president, should go negative early, often, and without apology if the goal is victory. The notion that negative campaigning is some toxic modern aberration in American democracy is bogus.”

Romney knows this, which is exactly why a moderate Republican businessman was able to secure the GOP presidential nomination at a time when much of his party loathes anything moderate, and a large share of the country, everything business orientated.

He did what he had to do to win, and now President Obama is doing the same. Romney sure had no problem telling other people to grab an ice pack while his troops sweated them out. Suddenly we’re to feel bad for him?

If Mitt can’t take the heat in “Obama’s 'hell kitchen',” I have a nice lil’ phrase to share, too: run up, get done up.

Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick