It is funny to hear some Romney backers say the poor coverage of his overseas jaunt doesn’t matter because voters aren’t paying much attention to political coverage now. To which one could reply: then why do the trip in the first place?
There is no doubt that Friday’s jobs numbers matter more than the candidate’s gaffes. But there are two potential costs for Boston that could linger:
A. The members of the media who wish to put a certain frame around Romney — that he is maladroit, out-of-touch, and politically tone deaf — just got license to do just that for several weeks, and maybe longer. In this, they are aided and abetted by the many Republicans who have been more than happy to openly say they agree with the dominant press narrative about the journey.
B. Romney’s head needs to be in a good place for him to win. For a surprisingly large portion of the cycle, that is exactly where his head has been. Occasionally, some event — his confrontational interview with Bret Baier in November, for example, or his initial dealing with the tax return flap in South Carolina — appears to throw Romney off and infect his overall performance. Much of the footage from the trip seemed to show the candidate in a rattled and uncomfortable state.
If these two overhangs endure, Romney will be hard pressed to pull off the successful veep pick, convention speech, and debates he needs to prevail. We will know a lot more on Friday, after we see how he reacts to those jobs numbers — and how the media covers him.