Mitt Romney’s Ford Field fumble


Mitt Romney’s time at the 30-yard line of Detroit’s Ford Field more closely resembled the recent 0-16 Lions than this year’s playoff-qualifying vintage.

That’s how his speech Friday to the Detroit Economic Club is playing at least. What was supposed to be a major address playing to the presidential hopeful’s strength -- the economy -- ended up being mocked in the Twitter-sphere and providing fodder to his foes.

For starters there’s the choice of venue -- a 65,000-seat football stadium for a speech that was only ever going to draw a few hundred people at most.


“I guess we had a hard time finding a large enough place to meet, and this certainly is,” Romney said at the top of his remarks.

The Democratic National Committee on Friday afternoon was circulating photos of Romney and a completely empty stadium, along with other lightly attended recent events in an email titled, “They Just Can’t Get Enough of Mitt.”

President Obama is set to deliver his convention speech this year at a football stadium in Charlotte, four years after he filled Denver’s Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium.

But all of that is just “optics” -- the kind of stagecraft more interesting to Beltway types than actual voters.

The real political fumble may have come at the end of the speech, as Romney attempted earnestly to draw a connection with Michigan’s rich auto history by talking about the cars he owns.

“I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs,” he said. The campaign later shared that Ann Romney has one each at the couple’s homes (yes, homes, plural) in California and Massachusetts. And that Romney himself drives a Mustang that was gift from his wife in 2005.


It’s not quite John McCain failing to recall how many homes he owned -- a moment in the 2008 campaign that dogged the GOP nominee in a year when the nation’s economic situation went from weak to dire.

But it’s the kind of statement that betrays the public persona Team Romney has worked from the very start of his campaign to put forward -- the Romney who wears jeans and tweets photos of family outings to chain sandwich restaurants and from Southwest Airlines flights.

Add it to a list of other ad-libs -- the $10,000 bet with Rick Perry, the out-of-context sound bite about him enjoying “firing people” in New Hampshire, among others -- and you make it easy for Democrats to paint a picture in the general election.

At the event, Romney again tried to make the case that he was the most electable candidate.

“I not only think I have the best chance, I think I have the only chance,” he said. “I will have credibility on the economy.”