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Joe Conason
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Thursday 2 August 2012
“On the trip’s final leg, the world saw the most unattractive side of the Romney campaign, when the traveling press secretary loudly told reporters to “kiss my ass” and “shove it,” in a display of the attitude that trickles down from the top.”

‘Kiss My Ass’: Fear and Loathing in the Romney Campaign

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If Mitt Romney's purpose in traveling abroad this summer was to prove his credentials as a potential world leader, the verdict is mixed at best. Neither his tendency to utter bizarre insults nor his shallow, ideological approach to policy inspired much confidence, although he managed to garner support from Israel's right-wing prime minister and an eccentric former leader in Poland. (Our allies in the United Kingdom may never want to hear from him again.)

On the trip's final leg, the world saw the most unattractive side of the Romney campaign, when the traveling press secretary loudly told reporters to “kiss my ass” and “shove it,” in a display of the attitude that trickles down from the top.

Contempt toward the press is an important aspect of this attitude. For most of the campaign so far, Romney has pursued a media strategy that has become increasingly typical of Republican presidential candidates: Speak with Fox News, and avoid the rest of the national press corps. That is because Fox journalists (an oxymoron?) are far less likely to ask questions that the candidate doesn't wish to answer, such as the inquiries shouted at Romney in Warsaw on Tuesday.

Why were they shouting at him? Because during the entire trip, he had essentially refused to engage with reporters at all.

According to a CNN transcript, American reporters were calling out questions in frustration as Romney walked away at a public plaza near Poland's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, when press secretary Rick Gorka confronted them.

CNN: “Gov. Romney, are you concerned about some of the mishaps of your trip??”

NYT: “Gov. Romney do you have a statement for the Palestinians??”

Washington Post: “What about your gaffes?”

NYT: “Gov. Romney, do you feel that your gaffes have overshadowed your foreign trip?”?

CNN: “Gov. Romney, just a few questions, sir. You haven't taken but three questions on this trip from the press!”

Gorka: “Show some respect.”

NYT: “We haven't had another chance to ask a question ...”

Gorka: “Kiss my ass. This is a holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect.”

Within moments, Gorka told Jonathan Martin, a reporter for Politico, to “shove it.”

Although Gorka called reporters later to apologize, his blustering attitude revealed the Romney campaign's fury over the negative fallout from the trip — and its arrogance toward the press, which it regards as an obstacle to its ambitions.

The emerging truth about the man who will soon accept the Republican presidential nomination is that — like Sarah Palin — his handlers cannot trust him to cope with unscripted questions. That was particularly true on this trip, where his plenteous gaffes would only have multiplied if anyone had been able to ask a tough question.

And as with Palin, the difficult task faced by the Republican campaign is to protect Romney from the press scrutiny that is so essential to our process, and so damaging to his prospects.


ABOUT Joe Conason

Joe Conason has written his popular political column for The New York Observer since 1992. He served as the Manhattan Weekly’s executive editor from 1992 to 1997. Since 1998, he has also written a column that is among the most widely read features on Conason is also a senior fellow at The Nation Institute.

Oh come on now

Oh come on now kiddies....starting the slander train early!!!! Why do you think a Republican candidate talks to Fox? Just read this article, if you are hammering Rommney for his staff, why have you not been as harsh on Osama, Obama for all of his numerous staff meltdowns?
How many of you know of the bill believe it is HR247 that makes it a felony to ask our glorious commander and chief a question out of order. It was created after a press confrence in which he could not answer a question...because he did not have a prepared answer. The can't answer a question or give a speech without the props.

Come now RealityCheck.. have

Come now RealityCheck.. have you heard of FactCheck? You sound a little foolish for not googling to check your sources.

> This was about as routine and noncontroversial as a federal law can get, at least until false claims started to circulate, drumming up a manufactured controversy. sThe law was sponsored by a Republican, Rep. Thomas Rooney of Florida. In fact, the bill has been around for years. Rooney first introduced it in 2009 and spoke about it on the House floor in 2010. The current Congress passed it overwhelmingly — by “unanimous consent” in the Senate, and with only three House members voting against it.

> So how did such an innocuous measure come to be described as an assault on the First Amendment and a criminalizing of any protest against Barack Obama? The emails we have seen usually include a link to a video of a Fox News’ report criticizing the law as an unprecedented attack on free speech, and claiming that the law makes it a crime to protest and imposes stiff new penalties — including making it a felony for merely asking Obama a question he doesn’t like or protesting peacefully in his presence.

> All those claims are bogus.

> As we’ve seen, the law has been around since Richard Nixon’s time, and the changes Congress approved don’t impose new penalties or even address the issues of speech or protest.

> The Fox News report, for example, claimed that the new law makes it a felony to protest against the president, and the emails circulating about it say you can be put in prison “for more than a YEAR if you ask him something he [Obama] doesn’t like.” But even before the law was amended this year, it provided for penalties of up to 10 years — if the person in a restricted area carries a deadly weapon or causes “significant bodily injury.” Nothing new.

> Some civil libertarians do see a danger that the law can be abused — but that was true before and is also nothing new. Gabe Rottman, a lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union, wrote a blog post in response to some of the wild claims that have been made about the new law.

Would Gorka be now working

Would Gorka be now working his own lips in über mode kissing someone's ass in keeping his job? What a goof. Well, not as bad as his master, but that's not saying much.

If Mitt had another son it would look alot like Rick Gorka.

They will be eating those

They will be eating those words come November. The arrogance of his PR team was unbelievable. Here they were at an holy site and this bumpkin was telling others how to behave using language like that? I would laugh if it weren't so embarrassing to our country.

This is a definite contrast between candidate Obama's European Tour in 2008 which was a success where he drew thousands of people and gave wonderful speeches. He also gave interviews and answered many questions that were asked by the reporters which is something that candidate Romney is deathly afraid to do. There is absolutely no transparency in the Romney campaign and the man has lied when asked for information just to get the reporters off his back at the moment. It will only get worse and the people will not put up with this foolishness in a potential president.

I'm not going to complain. It

I'm not going to complain. It is nice to see Romney self destruct. Oh happy day.

What do you expect from "His

What do you expect from "His Majesty, King Shit" He has no idea what its like to be a normal human being - he is so hung up on being "king" - Mr. Big Shot - he doesn't know any other way. And there are those IDIOTS that want him for president. God forbid! God save the USA.

Amazing that almost half the

Amazing that almost half the country are idiots in support of Romney as they were for Baby Bush George (and we know what two terms did for the USA under that clown's reign).

Shame that this is the same image most everyone else across the planet sees too and he'd make Bush & Cheney seem like harmless girl scouts in comparison .



The unmitigted audacity of

The unmitigted audacity of wealth. Amerikan royalty. Exceptional arrogance and stupidity.

Ah the arrogance of

Ah the arrogance of ignorance.

He's too arrogant to be

He's too arrogant to be ignorant.

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