In a bid to staunch the tide of bad press from this week’s “accidental” defense of Obamacare to subtle race-baiting, the Romney campaign has offered the media something new to focus on: his running mate.
Despite speculation he would try to reach a more diverse audience by choosing Florida Senator Marco Rubio or New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, Romney’s advisers have reached deep into the white male politician pool to grab Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. The new ticket, one of the most perfectly coiffed teams in presidential history, is a crazy juxtaposition of social safety net approaches. Massachusetts “Romneycare” was the precursor of “Obamacare” and when passed represented the greatest expansion of health care benefits since Medicaid and Medicare, whereas the Ryan budget plan would end both Medicaid and Medicare as we know it.
The announcement, coming early on Saturday morning, is a sign that the Romney camp is desperate to reverse falling polls and criticism of a campaign that is floundering as it approaches the national convention at the end of the month. It also shows the growing power of the Sunday morning talk show circuit–what other reason would there be for a Saturday morning announcement than to give media bookers a chance to revamp their weekend plans and grab guests ready to talk about the launch of the Romney/Ryan ticket.
Will the media ploy work? A bounce this week, and a bounce from the conventions could be just what Romney needs to turn his campaign around. Then again, the media scrutiny could also have the opposite: a budget that guts programs for the poor to provide bigger tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans isn’t usually that popular with the majority of voters, who will lose far more than they could ever hope to gain.