One of the biggest challenges Mr. Romney must overcome in the last two months of the campaign is to connect more with voters, as polls show that many of them think he lacks empathy and warmth. And a trip to the ransacked bayou — complete with images that seem tailor made for the evening news, like Mr. Romney visiting a town hall surrounded by water so deep one resident was canoeing through it — could help counter those perceptions.
“The decision to go to New Orleans shows how much Mitt Romney is making the effort to show he understands people’s needs and concerns,” said Ari Fleischer, a former press secretary to President George W. Bush. “It’s a side of Mitt Romney that people don’t give him credit for.”
This guy. A man who could tell more lies to the press before breakfast than Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have cranked out this whole week. The Master of Mendacity. The Dean of Dishonesty. The Prince of Prevarication. The man who singlehandedly elevated lying though his pearly whites to an Olympic-class event -- and loved every minute of it.
The man who, if presented with the choice between uttering an innocuous truth or telling an unnecessary lie, would immediately opt for the latter simply for the joie du jeu.
If I were Mitt Romney, and I wanted Americans to believe that I actually cared about the people of New Orleans -- as opposed to wanting them to believe that I wanted them to believe that I actually cared -- if I wanted them to feel that there was even a smidgen of genuineness, honesty, empathy, or spontaneity in my actions, the first thought through my head should be, For Pete's sake, don't get Fleischer involved!
And if I were a NYTimes reporter like -- to pick a name out of a hat -- Jeremy W. Peters, and I wanted to be sure I included one comment in my story that, regardless of how high or low the stakes were, could be counted on to be a complete line of crap, I would go straight to Ari.
Pity the fellow whose clothes are on fire and hears about it from Ari Fleischer: His last thought in this life would probably be, Hm. I wonder why Fleischer told me that?