Romney’s gift to Democrats

The ripple effects from his leaked video comments will extend far beyond the presidential race

Topics: Mitt Romney, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, 47 percent, 2012 Elections,

Romney's gift to DemocratsRep. Francisco Canseco

While talk of Romney’s comments about the “47 percent” may be ebbing a bit from cable news, Democrats  have seized on the comments in House and Senate races, where the ripple effects might eclipse the initial splash.  With the comments, Romney handed at least Democratic candidates a potent weapon to use against their Republican opponents in blue or bluish states and districts. Not only have at least a dozen Democrats called on their Republican opponents to repudiate Romney, but the remarks have allowed the campaigns to reheat old embarrassing comments by their opponents to use against them with new relevance and effectiveness.

Last night, the campaign of Democrat Pete Gallego — who is running against Rep. Francisco Canseco in a Texas district that represents one of the Democrats’ pickup opportunities — sent a video to reporters from January in which the freshman Republican echoed Romney in saying that half the country bears the “burden” while “half of the American people do not pay a cent in taxes.” (That’s not actually true. Even the 47 percent who don’t pay federal income taxes do pay plenty of other federal and state taxes.) “Like Mitt Romney, Congressman Canseco demonizes half of Americans,” Gallego spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña said in a statement.

Colorado Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter dug up audio of Republican challenger Pete Coors joking that people on food stamps are “redneck[s].” In New York, the Romney comments allowed Democrat Mark Murphy, running against ethically questionable Rep. Michael Grimm of Staten Island, to do the same. “It’s worth recalling that, in a recent debate on NY1, Grimm said 47 percent of Americans do not pay any federal taxes, which is a vicious and divisive lie,” Murphy said in a statement.



In Massachusetts, Democratic Rep. John Tierney put out a statement pointing to an interview from late 2011 in which Republican challenger Richard Tisei said: “50 percent of the people in the country don’t pay any tax so we have a tax code that needs to be totally reformed.”

It’s happening in the Senate too. Linda McMahon, the Republican Senate nominee in Connecticut, was the first Republican candidate to distance herself from Romney’s comments. But Democrat Chris Murphy’s campaign quickly dug up a video of McMahon saying the same thing as Romney. “I’d like to see everyone pay their fare share — 47 percent of the people today don’t pay any taxes,” she says in the tape. (Again, it’s not true they don’t pay any taxes.) “No amount of campaign spin can change the fact that Linda McMahon supports Romney’s right-wing Republican agenda,” the Murphy campaign said in a statement.

Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who is locked in a tight reelection battle against Democrat Shelley Berkley, was also forced to distance himself from Romney’s comments. But the Berkley campaign fired back with a Heller quote from February in which he suggested that people who take unemployment insurance are “hobos.” “Senator Heller is going to have a tough time trying to distance himself from Mitt Romney’s insulting comments about struggling middle-class Americans after he referred to unemployed Nevadans as ‘hobos,’” Berkley said in a statement.

Sen. Scott Brown, the Massachusetts Republican who was the second Republican candidate to distance himself from Romney (he even suggested at one point yesterday that he no longer supports Romney), will also not be able to escape the Romney drag. He has key debate tonight against Democrat Elizabeth Warren, where Warren is expected to use the presidential candidate as a cudgel against Brown. Despite Brown’s sharp turn to the left in the past year, Brown and Romney share a top adviser in Eric Fehrnstrom and are longtime political allies in the Bay State.

“Republican Senate candidates in moderate-to-left-leaning states who need to keep the Democratic base pacified and still pull a sizable portion of independents in order to win could very well be hurt by this,” GOP strategist Ford O’Connell told the Hill.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>