"He's reinforcing the stereotype as someone who doesn't get the plight of ordinary Americans and appears indifferent to them," the Brookings Institution's West said. "If you didn't have the early framing of Romney, the video wouldn't be so devastating. It's the one-two punch of the Obama ads and this video that are deadly."
Several Republican lawmakers have already distanced themselves from Romney's remarks, and the candidate himself described them as "inelegant" at a hastily convened news conference just hours after the video surfaced. Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, said Wednesday that Romney had been "obviously inarticulate."
The emergence of viral video has led some political observers to speculate that campaigns will become even more carefully packaged than ever before and that nervous politicians fearing the presence of a secret camera phone will cease saying anything spontaneous, no matter what the audience.
But Rodell Mollineau, president of the pro-Obama group American Bridge, said candidates who did not try to say different things to different audiences had nothing to fear from secret taping. American Bridge assigns video "trackers" to Republican candidates, hoping to catch them in a potentially damaging unscripted moment.
"You can get a gotcha moment. Those happen. But more than anything you find inconsistencies in people's rhetoric," Mollineau said. "Politicians will still try to say one thing to one group of people and one thing to another group of people. It won't work anymore."
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