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May 10, 2012

Mitt’s Temperature

Mitt Romney 1

Mitt Perry 6

Mitt Romney 3

Mitt Romney 6

(Note: We originally posted this back in November, probably too early in the election cycle for this kind of focus. With the article in WAPO about bullying incidents when Romney was in prep school, however, his temperament seems to be hitting the national radar.  If you take a look at the “Lava From Mount Mitt” post we did four years ago, Mitt’s temper has been something we’ve been interested in for some time.)

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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)

  • Blue Shark

    Willard is a closely held, and tightly wound privileged, white, Republican Bully.

    …It shows through in spades whenever the questions become … inconvenient.

  • monet

    I can see this in the story about the dog. Determined to make the goal, no matter what. Not about to stop for a sick dog. Tie him on and hit the road!
    Adds up to me. Obama surrogates might have some fun encouraging Mitt.1 to reveal himelf.

  • bks

    I think the Romney == Bully equation is not going away.  Today was the best day ever for Ron Paul and fone of the better ones for Obama.


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  • Steve Laudig

    Microexpressions are tells to mental state. not an ad, nor an endorsement, just another resource. Oddly to me this isn’t used more by political commentators probably because it would then be used on them. Gott Mitt Uns!

  • DennisQ

    A guy who blows his top from time to time is well, more . . . human than a cold fish who handles everthing the same eveh-handed way.  I wish Bush would have blown his top when he found out there weren[‘t any WMD’s present in Iraq.  Instead, he joked about it at a dinner with the press.  It was appalling.Obama may in fact have blown his top when he learned about General McChrystal’s de facto plan for Afghanistan – to send out hit squads to off enemy commanders.  Obama should have gotten irritated to learn about the Secret Service and Columbian prostitutes; but like Bush, he made light jokes about the “embarrassment.”  I’d really like to hear about high ranking government officials becoming infuriated that water-boarding is still going on and isn’t even being covered up.  During the Watergate hearings, Connecticut Senator Lowell Weicker demanded of John Mitchelll to say how he managed to remain calm while Howard Hunt tried to sell him on an illegal plan.  “You were the Attorney Geneeral of the United States – why the hell didn’t you throw him out of your office?!!A little honest emotion wouldn’t hurt.  There’s very little to recommend Willard Romney, but the fact that he pops his cork from time to time is actually a good quality.

    • Fay Brewer

      I don’t think Romney is just angry. Looking a the pics and hearing al the little anecdotes at how he blows up, I have the feeling that what Romney feels is rage. NOT healthy

  • BamaGuy1024

    Look at the fire of rage in his eyes in those photographs. Scary. Mitt’s Cranbrook cohorts remember his attack on a suspected gay boy classmate as “viscious”, Mitt threw the boy down on the floor, pinned him down, straddling him and as the other boys helped hold him, Mitt Romney hacked the terrified boy’s bleached blond hair off with a scissors to teach him a lesson. Anyone who could do such a thing, even as a 16 year old boy, has a dark violent aggressive side – which you can clearly see in these photographs. I have known such men, and when they are angered their rage can overpower their intellect, and that is dangerous. Look at those photographs and ask yourself if you want such a man as President of the USA

  • cf2k

    Judging by that third shot, he says “fuck” a LOT.

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