Mit t Romney, former Massachusetts governor and corporate magnate, is not only part of the 1%, he’s part of the 10% of that 1%. It’s this aspect, along with his characteristically glib demeanor (“corporations ARE people, my friend”) that has many critics saying he’s out of touch. In his tours through Iowa ahead of the Caucus next week, Romney has been attempting to divert attention away from his own oligarchic position by foisting the criticism on Obama.
"When the president's characterization of our economy was, 'It could be worse,' it reminded me of Marie Antoinette: 'Let them eat cake,' Romney told a crowd gathered in Mason City, IA on Thursday. The phrase “Let them eat cake,” wrongly attributed to the 18th century French queen Marie Antoinette, has been used to brand the fabulously wealthy as disconnected and dismissive of the poor. Romney, apparently attempting to deflect that same characterization, he attributed the line to Obama.
His catchphrase since the beginning of his campaign in late May has been that Obama, “didn't cause the recession, but he has made it deeper and has made the recovery more tepid and the pain last longer.” The line that he quoted Obama saying, “It could have been worse”, is actually from a June 2010 address in which Obama was attempting to reassure the people that his economic interventions were successful, they’re just hard to measure because we can’t go back and see what would have happened had he not bailed out the banks and auto industry. “It's hard to argue sometimes,” Obama said in June, “things would have been a lot worse.”
Romney is second in the polls close behind Libertarian cum republican candidate ron Paul from Texas. After previous top candidates have largely peaked and fizzled, Paul and Romney had both run aggressive campaigns in all four early voting states, but also in other states further into the primary season. Paul is polling at the top in Iowa, but Romney maintains the lead nationally.
Romney said of Paul’s lead in Iowa, “If Ron Paul wins Iowa, Ron Paul will have won Iowa. I will not have won Iowa. Now, what that means down the road is a different matter.” Expressing confidence in his campaign, but his tactics show a different side come the general election. When he’s attempting to characterize Obama with the same labels as himself (18th century French aristocrats?), he’s potentially trying to drag Obama down to a less populist position that Obama is enjoying right now. Even so, Democrats have taken the comments and turned the Iowa Caucus into a referendum on Romney’s person and politics. Not a bad move considering Paul is favored to win the state.