The truth is no defense, Romney is off-message.

Mitt Romney keeps handing President Obama distractions so that the president doesn't have to talk about the economy. If the economy is the issue, Obama might lose. If it is about something else, like what percentage of Americans consider themselves victims and choose to be dependent on the government, Obama could win.

What Romney said at a fundraiser last April makes him sound bitter and divisive. That is exactly the way Democrats want Republicans to sound. We could argue that what Romney said is true, but that doesn't help him get any votes he hasn't already gotten.

Some fresh, factual Romney campaign talking points about the number of people who don't pay taxes or the real growth in dependency on the government won't quiet the howling, sputtering rage from those who don't pay taxes, believe they are victims or want to exploit others who believe that. And, since many Democrats want to find racism behind any opposition to Obama, we can count on that charge being part of the discussion soon if it isn't already.

Victimhood and dependency are two of the Democrats' favorite states, but they have already won them.

It is a fact that 67 percent of Democrats want the government to help them more.  And whether or not Obama wants to create government dependency as a way of getting more votes could be an interesting debate.  But the GOP is supposed to be about responsibility and opportunity, and this election is supposed to be about the economy. Period.

What Romney said isn't as bad as what Obama said in 2008 about his belief that decent people cling to guns and religion, or his infamous 2012 quote, "you didn't build that," but the timing is worse. With just seven weeks left, every day matters.

I wish Romney were a better candidate. I wish he had the wisdom and discipline to stick to a script. He has to realize his job is to be the focal point on the stage. He is tired and under pressure, he doesn't have time to write everything himself and so he has to stick to a script prepared by others. He isn't artful enough to ad-lib and wing it. Romney, take note: Obama's use of a Teleprompter is more about effective message discipline than about a weakness of the president. Whoever makes the most mistakes often loses.

Again, Mitt Romney has to be a better candidate. If he doesn't get better, he will lose. Governor, a lot of people are counting on you; get past this latest distraction and do a better job.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.

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