Watch the video above a few times, with close attention to the audio. You’ll hear: Questions being shouted at likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. More shouted questions. A Romney aide telling reporters to show some respect, via some colorful language.
Yet the real sound of this video is exasperation. That’s what’s in the voices of these traveling political journalists as Romney was heading back to his car from Pilsudski Square in Warsaw. Sample their questions.
1) “GOVERNOR ROMNEY!?”
2) “GOVERNOR ROMNEY, DO YOU HAVE A STATEMENT FOR THE PALESTINIANS?” (a reference to Romney’s statement that the Israelis have a richer economy than the Palestinians because of “culture”).
3) “WHAT ABOUT YOUR GAFFES?”
4) “GOVERNOR ROMNEY, DO YOU FEEL THAT YOUR GAFFES HAVE OVERSHADOWED YOUR FOREIGN TRIP?”
All-caps added to highlight just how loud the reporters were shouting. Think about this: What reporter asks a candidate, “What about your gaffes?” Answer: A reporter who’s tired of standing on the sidelines, watching and watching and watching, with virtually no shot at asking the candidate any meaningful questions. As has been widely reported, Romney took some questions from the traveling media corps in London and has sat for interviews with prominent TV personalities such asBrian Williams and Greta van Susteren. The issue is media “availabilities,” those moments when the candidate opens up to the not-so-famous journalists. Such moments have been rare, according to those who’ve been on the trip. Over seven days, say several sources, Romney took only three questions from the traveling media, all of them outside of 10 Downing St. in London.
The headline for the episode is that a Romney aide, Rick Gorka, bundled a whole bunch of irony and hypocrisy into just 15 words, when he said the following to a reporter who was complaining about access: “Kiss my [posterior]. This is a holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect.” Another instruction from Gorka: “Shove it.”
The aide later apologized for his language. But the regrets shouldn’t go too far. “Shove it” is what the Romney campaign has been telling the foot soldiers of the traveling media corps for months now, only in more diplomatic words.