The Washington Post

Romney staff’s crass self-promotion

Any doubt that the Romney campaign operatives are brilliant and on the verge of victory in Florida was dispelled by their telling the press exactly that over the weekend. This is common practice these days among campaign operatives, too standard in my cranky view. 

The best campaigns don't feature the men and women behind the curtain, projecting them as heroes. Instead, the operatives stay in the background, and promote their principal. The reason for this is simple: the more the mechanics of the campaign and the machinations of the consultants are the story, the more the candidate shrinks. 

The Romney operatives decided to background reporters about the tactical decisions they made after the South Carolina defeat. They were fairly obvious; put pressure on Gingrich and make Mitt tougher in the debates. 

There are alternatives to self-promotion if you are campaign staffer. First, you can simply keep your mouth shut; or, even better you can give credit to your boss. Why not portray Mitt as frustrated with his campaign and personally ordering a mid-course correction? Unless, it isn't true, and Mitt is simply a tool of his consultants.

Anyway, since the Romney team mouthed off, they had better win Florida. That seems a safe assumption. But if they find themselves in the end zone tomorrow, they should take the old football adage to heart: Don't celebrate; act like you've been there before.


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