Some remarkable stuff in the transcript of Mitt and Ann Romney’s interview on “Live! With Kelly and Michael,” set to air on Tuesday on ABC.
Michael: What is your guilty pleasure?
Ann: Donuts for me.
Romney: Uh, Peanut butter sandwiches and chocolate milk.
Well-played, Romneys, transforming what I consider, respectively, a “healthy, well-rounded breakfast” and “basically a salad” into guilty pleasures.
Kelly: Who would you pick to play each other in the movie?
Romney: Uh, let’s see. Let me think about that. For me my favorite actor is Gene Hackman, so I’d like Gene Hackman.
K: You’d like Gene Hackman to play your wife?
Romney: No to play me! Oh to play her? Oh! [indistinct chatter]
K: Is this your first marital fight?
Ann: I bet Gene would really think that would be a great idea.
Romney: You know what was that movie he was in Birdcage when he… No, I think for her maybe Michelle Pfeiffer.
K: That’s actually perfect.
Ann: Oh, he’s made it easy for me, Gene Hackman.
Notes: 1) Mitt Romney has seen “The Birdcage”? Really? Did you pay attention? (This theme of “Really? Did you pay attention?” keeps recurring in these interviews, like when the Romneys note later that “Modern Family” is their favorite TV show. Really? Did you pay attention?)
2) Among Michelle Pfeiffer’s recent memorable roles are an amoral, vicious witch (“Stardust”) and a horrible racist stage mother (“Hairspray”), but she and Ann are indeed physically similar.
3) Strange, lingering visions of Gene Hackman dressed as Ann Romney.
K: What’s the most embarrassing thing besides this show you’ve ever done?
Ann: We had the unbelievable pleasure of spending the night at the White House and the next morning I was like, exploring everywhere. And I was supposed to be at meetings and Mitt was like Ann you’re supposed to go, and I said no, I’m exploring. I went into one door, I was with Anita Perry by the way I’ll put blame on her. And Anita and I were like we wonder what’s behind this door? It was George Bush having a massage.
Kelly: Which George Bush?
Ann: George W., and he was covered up but I was so embarrassed that the next time I did see him I didn’t know what I was going to say to him. We were going down the elevator from the White house going to an event together and I walked up to the elevator and am just like blushing, blushing, blushing and he looks at me and he winks as he does and says, ‘I look pretty good, don’t I.’
Kelly: Who hogs the blankets?
Romney: No question about that, that’s Ann, that’s Ann. And she takes a lot more blankets than I do.
There is always a definite tipping point in these questions when they go from “Fun Getting To Know You” to “Ritual Couples Airing of Grievances.” This is that point. ANN, YOU BLANKET-HOGGING MONSTER! HOW DARE YOU?
Michael: Ann, what does Mitt wear to bed?
Romney: Really? Really?
Michael: I didn’t write the question.
Romney: I hear the best answer is as little as possible.
NOTE THAT ANN NEVER ANSWERED THE QUESTION.
Also, we have this image now, and it will never leave us.
RIP Those Blissful Years When We Did Not Have To Visualize What Mitt Romney Wears To Bed, 1947-2012. You will be missed.
Kelly: Do you keep up with the Kardashians?
Ann: Who keeps up with the Kardashians? Who can keep up with the Kardashians?
“Who keeps up with the Kardashians? Who can keep up with the Kardashians?” wins a prize for Most Oddly Deep Existential Musing Embedded in a Couples Interview. Who keeps up with the Kardashians? Who can keep up with the Kardashians? Can any of us truly hope to keep up with the Kardashians? What does it mean to keep up? What makes a Kardashian a Kardashian? How is baby formed? What is the sound of one Kardashian clapping?
Michael: Ok, the most serious question of all? Honey Boo Boo or Snookie?
Kelly: Do you know who either of these are?
Mitt: I'm kind of a Snookie fan. Look how tiny's she's gotten. She's lost weight. She's energetic. Just her spark-plug personality is kind of fun.
When it comes to Snooki’s weight loss, Mitt HAS THE FACTS AT HIS FINGERTIPS. I hope the next edition of “A Shore Thing” comes out with “I’m kind of a Snooki fan. . . . Just her spark-plug personality is kind of fun” as a blurb on the back. That’s the kind of endorsement that will send it flying off the shelves. But what will Chris Christie say to this betrayal?
What is your biggest pet peeve with each other?
Ann: He doesn’t like the way I squeeze the toothpaste. It’s just random. It’s random.
Mitt: Oh, that’s right. She doesn’t go from the bottom and work up and she leaves the top off.
Kelly: She’s busy. She raised your five sons.
Mitt: I put up with a lot. Woody Allen said that 95% of history is explained as a man trying to impress a woman. And that’s true in my life. My life is trying to impress Ann so I make very little out of the fact that she squeezes the toothpaste from the middle.
Nice Woody Allen quote, Mitt!
This toothpaste thing keeps coming up, though. It seems to be a real sticking point in the Romney marriage. On one of the other occasions pet peeves came up, Mitt indignantly tried to explain to the interviewer that love meant you never got peeved at the other party, but he seems to have abandoned that line of thinking.
All in all, a hallucinatory, if not revelatory, daytime-TV ride!
Oscar Wilde once described married couples who flirt as “washing one’s clean linen in public.” That’s these interviews all over.