Mitt Romney should be owning the Michigan GOP primary. But unless his decent performance last night in Arizona gives him a bump, it’s close. Close enough that Chris Christie had to be yanked in to manage the expectation game for the Romney campaign this morning.
Romney, a rich guy who made his money by plundering companies and firing workers, grew up rich in the same place I grew up: Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Romney’s father George was governor when we moved there; his son Mitt a subject of social chatter in the Detroit papers. Mitt graduated from Cranbrook Schools, the tony, park-like (and architecturally significant) private school campus I lived right near, where he met his wife Ann. He hung out at the Mormon Temple on Woodward Avenue (where his father was President), I hung with the anti-war Unitarians half a mile down the road. He’s older, but he would have bored me anyway.
You’d think Michigan would be easy pickings for Romney. Hometown boy. Son of the father. But Michigan culture, even its Republican culture, is deeply rooted in the working class that built the place, that fell when manufacturing shifted away and is showing life again thanks to Obama’s auto bailout. The one Romney famously opposed and is now struggling to paste over with revisionist suggestions of how the auto industry his father was once a titan of could have been saved. Chris Christie, Romney apologist and saver-of-his-bacon on numerous occasions, tried strenuously to back Mitt on Morning Joe (MSNBC) this morning (that video’s on the jump page).
You could understand why Mitt would be rattled landing in the state where he grew up among future Masters of the Universe, where Daddy ran the show. But his rambling (druggy, if we didn’t know better) breathless chatter about trees …lakes .. and cars is just the weirdest shit I’ve ever seen come out of a politico’s mouth (even with Michael Moore’s defense of Romney).
Click below to get to the meat: Chris Christie’s contentious, revisionist, sputtering interview on Morning Joe this morning (and they like him there).
Questioning Christie on Romney’s shifting statesments on the auto bailout start at mark: 6:36. The governor wilts under repeated questions from Harold Ford, who points out Romney offered no alternative besides criticism for the bailout and what he and Christie now suggest should have been done was impossible and not even brought up by Romney in 2008 when Romney spoke out. Christie ends off sputtering that he won’t give an “off-the-cuff” answer (when he had already been talking about it for more than 2 minutes nearly non-stop). Christie later gets confrontational with Jonathan Capeheart of the Washington Post on marriage equality. Whole 21-minute interview is worth watching.