Richard Grenell. (STEPHEN HILGER/Bloomberg News)

The “move” appears to be Grenell’s, as reflected in both the statement of the Romney campaign and of Grenell. Campaign:

We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons. We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.


I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman. While I welcomed the challenge to confront President Obama’s foreign policy failures and weak leadership on the world stage, my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign. I want to thank Governor Romney for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear message to me that being openly gay was a non-issue for him and his team.

Fischer was central to that “hyper-partisan discussion.” He’s the director of issue analysis at the American Family Association, and he blasted the campaign upon Grenell’s hiring for associating itself with an openly gay man. Grenell also ran into trouble for a bunch of sexist tweets that he ended up deleting from his Twitter feed.

In an interview this afternoon, I pointed out to Fischer that Grenell had deep experience in foreign-affairs flacking, a tour of duty that included working under four U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations. Would Fischer worry that, with Grenell’s resignation, the Romney campaign might have trouble finding someone as qualified? Someone with Grenell’s record as a bulldog vis-a-vis aggressive reporters? Someone who could bash the Obama team in the media?

“Absolutely not,” responded Fischer. “I refuse to believe that Richard Grenell was the only qualified individual. I think that hire was about homosexuality, so there will be plenty of qualified candidates [Romney] will be able to choose from.” Straight ones, that is.

The hiring of Grenell, Fischer posits, stems from Romney’s “pretty deep sympathy for the homosexual agenda.” Nor is Fischer concerned that his statements about Grenell and the aide’s subsequent resignation distract from the Romney campaign’s message. “I’m not saying I’m responsible for this,” says Fischer. “Whatever contribution I might have had to the Romney campaign making this decision, I did him a huge favor. . . . He needed this gone.”