Commentary Magazine


Sometimes It’s the Little Things

Mitt Romney was hilarious at the Al Smith Dinner in New York last night, unexpectedly (so I think), as he doesn’t have a reputation for great comic delivery. My favorite line was a dig at the press, describing how the headlines would report the $2500-a-plate dinner: “Obama Embraced by Catholics; Romney Dines with Rich People.”

Gallup yesterday had Romney up 52-45, with a plus- or minus-2 percent margin of error. Bob Beckel, a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat (he managed Walter Mondale’s 1984 campaign), said that, “. . . if those numbers are correct, it is over. It is over. So I mean, you’re not going to bring Romney back under 50% from 52%, not a challenging candidate . . .”

Real Clear Politics has moved North Carolina from toss-up to leans Romney. This gives Romney the lead in Electoral College votes for the first time, 206-201, with 131 still in the toss-up category.

All this is, of course, very good news. But what most impressed me in watching the news last night was a short clip of Romney leaving a hotel in the morning, on his way to the next campaign stop. The voiceover was all about the campaign, but the visual was simply Romney pulling his own suitcase as he came out the door.  He’s worth a gazillion dollars, has a vast campaign staff at his beck and call, and yet, like those of us in the 99 percent, he was handling his own luggage.

I wonder how many others noticed it. It’s sort of like product placement in a movie. It’s not highlighted; it’s just there. But there’s a reason companies pay for product placement: it helps sell the product.