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October 26, 2012

Is Big Mo Evaporating, Even to Romney? Tell Tale Signs


Beyond spin, talking points and talking heads, a close eye on the day-by-day (even hour-by-hour) image stream offers all kinds of clues as to the strategic, tactical, and emotional shifts of the campaigns.

Given how poll driven these campaigns are — and how suddenly Romney’s “big mo” has leveled off — it seems there have been a number of signs (literally) in the last 24 hours to suggest Team Romney is starting to identify itself as the underdog again. Although the choice of these two photos is admittedly subjective (and isolated among the flood of more boosterish imagery), they hint at Romney’s place in the campaign.

Garrett Jackson, Romney’s body man and uber–Instagram-mer, posted the above shot 20 hours ago from Ohio. Diminutive as the Mitt appears here, it’s compelling to see the pic as “a tell,” both in terms of how large Ohio looms (the periscoping suggesting it’s all down to this) and how immediate the threat is to make the candidate disappear.


The second photo was shot yesterday and posted on the Getty wire. Behind in the polls earlier this year, you might recall Team Romney using this “comeback phrase” to serve a double meaning. On a manifest level, it referred to bringing the country back from Obama’s allegedly poor stewardship. But also in the mix was the underlying morale boosting/stiff upper lip message that the campaign, as America’s team, was good for a surge.

At this stage of the campaign, things can change in an instant. But for the moment, at least, signs suggest Romney and Co. are fighting the feeling of underdogs.

(photo 1: Garrett Jackson/@dgjackson2012 – Instagram caption: Victory in Ohio. photo 2: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images caption: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally at Defiance High School on October 25, 2012 in Defiance, Ohio. Mitt Romney is campaigning in Ohio with less than two weeks to go before the election.)

  • Lance Thruster

    The top pic evokes an image of a little man thinking he has big ideas. The concept being both Illusionary/delusionary.

    The other image has a “Trust me, I wouldn’t hurt a fly” charlatan quality to it, when the opposite is true (i.e. Rmoney being toxic to the Republic).

  • Enoch Root

    “Hi, I’m Mitt Romney. I’m about to be squashed by an ‘H’.”

    That first picture has the guy in the left corner as well. I imagine him as a bodyguard, protecting Mitt from no one in evidence. Mitt seems to be waving at an empty, bleak, concrete enclosure. The fake nostalgia of Instagram just adds to the prison-like quality of this photo… It could be one of the prison scenes in ‘A Clockwork Orange.’

    At this point, I think the Romney campaign is a way to bilk billionaires, as a sort of make-work program for people who think Karl Rove is good for America. When Romney loses, the money will remain in the hands of Republican power-wielders, and will determine the outcomes of various other legislatives pushes and races.

    So when the SuperPACs start advertising to help Republicans destroy health care and Social Security, you’ll know how it was funded.

  • Adam Stevenson

    I think Romney is the most dangerous and Sociopathic candidate for the Presidency in the history of this country – I hate him – but that said, thought it should be clarified that the “Comeback Team” slogan has been used by the Romney campaign since the beginning of his campaign. I saw it in web ads as soon as Ryan as his VP choice. So I don’t really get the “double meaning” thing. Also, while swing state polls are definitely showing that Romney’s not increasing and that Obama is actually maintaining his small leads (which aren’t big enough to make me confident, but I’ll take it), the first photo may be a “metaphor” of some kind for what I HOPE to be the case – but it’s not any real “tell” – I mean, Romney is having big rallies in Ohio and pretty much everywhere. So while I certainly disagree with this MSM-pushed “momentum” thing for Romney, which goes against every swing state poll trend right now, Romney is still literally saying he “WILL” be President and “WILL” win. That’s not the behavior of an “underdog” – it’s the behavior of someone who thinks he has friends who will be counting the votes, like Husted and Kasich in Ohio and flipping places like Hamilton County, to him, using H.I.G.-owned voting machines. Far from acting like an “underdog”, Romney’s confidence that he will win in 11 days is downright frightening.

    • Jan Marra

      I think some of the more outrageous and egregious statements by Republicans found their way to the airwaves because they believe that not only is the Presidential election fixed, but so are the elections of people like Akin. McCaskill’s almost ten points ahead, but they could fucking rig them all.

  • black_dog_barking

    The first image is a magnificently *perfect* visual metaphor for the Willard Romney of my mind: a small man waving to the nonexistent masses of his narcissist bubble, strolling through the cracked and barren landscape of his personal accomplishment. The professional good taste of the graphics of the Victory sign screams money, expensive, and professional for-hire work — extremely different in character than the Obama logo/graphics, especially the 2008 stuff.

    Willard’s world is a soul less place, like this picture.

  • Scarabus

    Good comments! Soon as I saw the image, I was reminded of Citizen Kane. Couldn’t find a still of exactly what I wanted, but this is close enough to provide a hint. Hope my flashback turns out to be premonitory! :-)

  • bks

    Shouldn’t the sign be red? Best news for Obama: _National Review_ is attacking the pollsters (e.g. Nate Silver). Whichever side is talking about “internal polls” or “poll internals” is losing.


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