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November 29, 2011

Taking Mitt’s Temperature

Mitt Romney 1

Mitt Perry 6

Mitt Romney 3

Mitt Romney 6

Aides to Mr. Romney say that he has substantially evolved since his 2008 bid, and that Mitt 2.0 is a more relaxed, confident version of the man voters met then.

- from: On Trail, Casual Friday Versus Boardroom Cool 8/25/11 (NYT)

One longtime aide recalls Mr. Romney, a few weeks after conceding to Senator McCain in 2008, saying “Ahhhh, feels like I finally managed to loosen the laces on my shoes.”

from: Lectern Gone, Romney Finds More Success 10/24/11 (NYT)

For all the Levis and plain-language answers that supposedly constitute Mitt 2.0, what we continue to see in Romney is someone who is excitable, always right and constantly taking offense. As Campaign ‘12 starts to really get rolling, I’m happy to see different sites — Gawker, for example, piggybacking on this “emotional profile” in TNR – call out the core feature of Mitt’s psychological baggage, which is his temperament. For longer-term readers of The Bag, we laid out the problem in a series of screen shots way back in December ‘07 — “Lava From Mount Mitt” — when he let his guard down in a radio interview with conservative talk show host, Jan Mickelson.

As evidence of the symptom expressing itself more recently, TNR points to the October 18th CNN debate in Las Vegas where Romney gets into it with Rick Perry in the immigration segment. Problem is, citizens are not trained as clinicians so, as perceptive as they might be, they are mostly socialized to look past or simply downplay more aberrant behavior. And in Romney’s case, given all the handling and coaching he’s receiving on top of his own attempts to stay cool, it’s not that he isn’t getting getting agitated or getting his back up just as much, but he also knows to rope himself back fairly quickly.

Still, because anger can be cold as well as hot, and because anger can also flash like lightening, the clearest way to isolate Mitt’s agitation — just like in our post in ‘07 — is through screen shots where we can more easily witness the affective bolts of stress, vexation and agression take over the man’s body.

(screen shots via CNN video)

  • Thomas Gokey

    During the debate conflict with Perry I thought it was the right time for Romney to get angry and he used it well. Perry had just made a serious allegation within the GOP world, that Romney had hired undocumented immigrates. The only appropriate response for a GOP candidate is moral outrage at such a suggestion. And the way Romney reached out and put his hand on Perry’s shoulder was a brilliant move, effectively subordinating Perry to Romney and putting him in his place.

    I have no doubt that Romney has a temper and that it could get him in trouble, but he seems to know the rules as to when it’s okay to let it show. If he didn’t get angry then, it would have really hurt him. Obama’s cool is mostly a benefit to him, but because he doesn’t get angry and fight back hard, he let’s the GOP walk all over him. Romney’s trying to show that he can fight back when challenged.

    The more dangerous aspect to Romney’s temper is that his rare moments of anger seem like the only time he’s really authentic. Looking at the photographs his angry seems to have finally broken the phoney expression and given us our one gimps at a sincere moment.

  • Ciclo

    Angry, maybe, but he looks ready to bring the full wrath of destruction on someone. 

  • Momly

    The Romney – Bot is programmed for ANGRY! Might wanna back off on some of the exclamation points; it looks like it’s gonna blow.

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