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Rash Report: Can Romney Recover From Political Gaffe?

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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Politics

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The fallout from the release of the secretly taped Mitt Romney video continues.

While Romney continues to stand by his comments about the 47 percent of Americans who do not pay income taxes, privately and in some cases publicly, Republican analysts continue to express concerns about the damage to his campaign.

Star Tribune columnist John Rash says it’s an example of how candidate’s missteps can prove even more damaging in the YouTube age.

Esme Murphy spoke to Rash about what this means in the long run.

Rash: For both parties, gaffes have more resonance when they advance a narrative that is already out there. So to a certain degree that some voters perceive Gov. Romney because of his personal wealth and polls indicate that he has a harder time connecting with every day average Americans, this exacerbated that image. In the same way that four years ago, President then Sen. Obama was talking to a fundraiser, just as Gov. Romney was and made his infamous comment about people, “clinging to guns and religion” and that stayed with him because to some degree that advanced a narrative that was reflected in the polls that Obama didn’t connect with everyday middle of the country mid-western Americans.

Esme: It used to be that the networks drove the news cycle. Now it seems that YouTube is driving the news cycle.

Rash: You are very right because at a time the cycle is a vicious cycle because the candidates are chasing what is going on in social media, what is going on in YouTube and how the mainstream media catches up with it and takes the story much wider. But I do think it’s important to note that these stories don’t have legs until they get picked up by large media organizations and ultimately the campaign press that is out there.

Esme: Although they don’t get picked up by major media organizations until they get picked up by the public, they really don’t get picked up until they go viral.

Rash: Yes, and the back story here is that whoever shot this video this individual has not come forward at this point, but the fact that it was Jimmy Carter’s grandson who found an excerpt of the fundraiser on YouTube and began pushing the story, began contacting the individual who had taped this at a fundraiser and encouraged this individual to come forward and thus began the chase to get the journalistic scoop.

Esme: You have to assume you are always on even — if you feel it’s a private function, even if you feel you are not being taped.

Rash: The camera never blinks Dan Rather once said and he said it a generation ago, we have far more cameras now. He was referring to the one in the news studio, but now everywhere you go people are observing. I think this is going to make candidates even more cautious.

You can read John Rash’s “Rash Report” column in the Star Tribune every Saturday, and you can listen to him every weekday on our sister station at WCCO-AM on The Morning News with Dave Lee at 7:55 a.m. And WCCO-TV will be featuring John Rash every Sunday on WCCO Sunday Morning at 6 a.m.

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