The voters were pleading with Mitt Romney to share personal details of his life. They stood at town-hall-style meetings and chatted before rallies, clamoring for a story or an anecdote that would help them connect with the real Mitt Romney.
“I wish that you would speak more to a lot of the things that I think you should speak about — the fact that you were pastor at your church, the fact that you were a missionary, the fact that you do speak about helping with the Olympics,” Mary Toepfer, 40, of Warren, Ohio, said at a recent event.
Without these kinds of stories, she added, “it’s hard for us, who are trying to support you, to address them when trying to explain to them why you would be the better candidate.”
Another voter, another day, spoke up in Bexley, Ohio, beseeching Mr. Romney to open up. “I’d like you to share with all the American citizens that are watching right now,” the man said, “to show the American people that you have a lot of heart.”
On the campaign trail these days, voters often talk frankly of their yearning to get more from Mr. Romney. Some Republicans seem so eager for a leader who can rouse the passions of the party faithful that they are offering advice directly to Mr. Romney, suggesting that if he revealed more of himself and made more of a human connection, he could better harness the enthusiasm of the conservative grass roots for defeating President Obama.
But even if Republican voters appear increasingly eager to fall for him, it is not clear that Mr. Romney can satisfy their desire for warm, revealing moments. His campaign advisers say that as the primary season winds down, they expect Mr. Romney will have more opportunities to talk about himself in a personal way.
He has already started to appear again in more settings that lend themselves to intimate exchanges with voters and will soon do longer interviews, which he has largely avoided, during which he can dole out tales about himself.
Still, the aides say Mr. Romney has a natural reticence — he regards talking about himself as bragging, they say. And they are all too aware of his susceptibility to awkward or off-key statements when it comes to disclosing personal information, like the story he told to voters in Wisconsin on Wednesday about his father, as head of American Motors, closing a factory in Michigan and moving the production to Wisconsin.
They say they also do not want to distract from his chief campaign theme, how his experience as a businessman and a governor has prepared him to help fix the economy.
“I think people underestimate the trauma there is out there for voters who want someone to help them,” said Stuart Stevens, a top Romney strategist. “There’s a balance between an election being about you, and an election being about the voters.”
(...) “There’s so many stories of Mitt helping and reaching out and helping other people, and he’s very modest about it and he doesn’t talk about it,” said his wife, Ann, when asked by Neil Cavuto of Fox News this month why she and her husband rarely talk about how he supported her during her illnesses.
Now, she and other surrogates are trying to do the job that Mr. Romney seems uncomfortable, or unwilling, to do himself. On the stump, Mrs. Romney often talks of warm family moments, and she recently made two Web videos, filled with images and memories of the couple and their five sons. Garrett Jackson, a personal aide to Mr. Romney, has also been deployed to start a blog intended to offer a window into the candidate’s daily life.
Aides, however, talk about finding the right balance. Especially in the modern political era of Twitter and nonstop blogs, they worry that opening up with some personal stories could lead to every little personal quirk becoming fair game for criticism.
While the Romney campaign expects it will have another chance to re-introduce Mr. Romney to Americans if he becomes his party’s nominee, some Republican voters are hungry — now — for a better sense of him.
viernes, 30 de marzo de 2012
Los votantes reclaman un Romney más emocional
The New York Times: