"Pandering" is a dirty word in politics, but in truth, it's almost part of the job description. The key is to do it without calling too much attention to yourself. Whether he's been hobbled by his wealth, or just doesn't connect naturally, Mitt Romney's unsmooth panderings (too numerous to count), have shined a glaring spotlight on his inauthenticity. He just needs an advisor to tell him to be himself, not apologize for his wealth, and portray himself as the strong Washington outsider/businessman who will turn the economy around. And stick to the script. Otherwise, like we've seen, it backfires.

Speaking with reporter Ann Rubin of KSDK.com in Missouri on Tuesday, Romney ticked off a list of programs he would either eliminate or defund in order to cut the deficit. He said, "Of course you get rid of Obamacare, that's the easy one, but there are others. Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that."

Planned Parenthood responded to the comment with a written statement by Dawn Laguens, VP for Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

"When Mitt Romney says he wants to 'get rid' of Planned Parenthood, he means getting rid of the preventive health care that three million people a year rely on for cancer screenings, birth control, and other preventive care. Mitt Romney simply can't be trusted when it comes to women's health."

The fact that President Obama's children are all girls, and Romney's are all boys, could subtly come into play from a strategic standpoint, but let's hope things don't get that bad.

Naturally, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz chimed in to offer her two cents. In a statement Tuesday, she said, "He did everything he could to pander to the far-right wing of his party with extreme and out-of-touch positions like vowing to get rid of Planned Parenthood, as he did today."

The ambiguity over the context of Romney's statement is troubling, because his famous 2005 flip-flop on abortion still has people wondering about his true feelings and intentions on the subject. If he sought Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts' endorsement during his 2002 governmental campaign, what does that mean in his current presidential campaign? That he would go further than normal in trying to shutter an institution reviled by his base? If Paul Tsongas were still running, we'd be hearing a lot of that "pander bear" phrase.

Commentarium (13 Comments)

Mar 14 12 - 8:10pm
Mr. Man

So out of touch. Not even funny. If Repubs continue the war on women & poor they'll not only lose the house but a ton more seats in congress.

Mar 15 12 - 12:25pm
So true

Who is he to say that Americans shouldn't be forced to pay for things they find unnecessary. Entitlement is the new right.

You've got yours, I want it. Give it to me or I'll use the Federal government to take it from you. Capisce?

Mar 15 12 - 2:39pm

All Americans are forced to pay for things they find unnecessary. That's how collective governing works.

Mar 15 12 - 4:41pm
mr. man

hey 'so true', like i said, it's fine with me if Romney keeps this up. And Rush too. it's the losing hand.

Mar 14 12 - 8:11pm
Mr. Man

*White House*

Mar 14 12 - 8:58pm
itingthe prepare

a. How could he get rid of a private organization? He can get rid of their public funding, but he can't get rid of the organization.

b. I wish people would stop equating anti-abortion with anti-woman. The two are not even remotely the same. It's simply disingenuous to say that Republicans are predominantly anti-woman because they are predominantly anti-abortion.

Mar 14 12 - 11:54pm

If you want to strip women of the right of
A) decide if they want an abortion.

B) If they get access to healthcare provided Contraception

Then yes you are anti woman and that is what the Republicans are.

Mar 15 12 - 2:07am

Unfortunately, itingthe prepare, it is not democrats or pro-choice people that conflate "all of women's health" with "abortions." It is Republicans. They consistently ignore the statistics surrounding the actual work that Planned Parenthood does and the myriad reasons why women take the pill other than or in addition to contraceptive purposes. They are the ones that are politicking around in women's health because they believe that all that women's health amounts to is their ability to reproduce. And what does that tell us about how they see women?

Furthermore, more often than not, when you actually examine someone's reason for being anti-abortion, they are either misogynistic in one direction (implying or outright stating that women are not capable of deciding things about their own body and health) or another (complete slut-shaming, talking about children as if they are scarlet letters to be placed upon Bad and/or Stupid Women). Most people that I have encountered who are anti-abortion are also anti-any practical measures that decrease abortions -- sex education, cheap and available contraceptives, and on the other side of pregnancy -- paid maternity leave, affordable and available childcare. And the idea that abortion should be illegal "except in cases of rape or incest" makes little sense as well -- murder is not acceptable in any case except self-defense, so what is the logic here? Clearly that if the woman was a victim of rape or incest she did not "deserve it." The whole package does not seem to cohere with the idea that they are simply opposed to abortion because they believe it is murder; it seems much more like they are opposed to abortion because it makes it life and sex slightly less dangerous and shameful for women. It's hard to see that as anything but anti-women.

Mar 15 12 - 2:38am

as a registered Republican who does NOT like any Republican candidates, but will not vote for Obama, Romney lost any shot of ever getting my vote even as an ABO (anyone but Obama) vote, I say that sexuality/reproduction should not be a political issue, especially as the only time it's discussed is during the campaign and then not brought up again, stay OUT of my bedroom as well as my wifes Uterus

Mar 15 12 - 9:31am

Greg - I share your feelings somewhat. I'm an independent who didn't vote for Obama (or McCain, for that matter), and is not inclined to vote for him this time around. However, the more ridiculous the Republican candidates get, the more I feel compelled to vote for Obama, not because I think he's a great president, but because that's the clearest vote AGAINST current Republican attack on the individual rights of women.

Mar 15 12 - 9:35am

The context of his remark is that he wants to "get rid of" federal funding for Planned Parenthood. If you want to talk about "pandering" maybe mention how Obama says he's against gay marriage but he's really not. Or is it ok to lie when it serves your overall goal?

Mar 15 12 - 10:09am

Pretty sure in the first paragraph he mentions that all politicians pander and it's essentially a job requirement? Try reading the article before you complain about it.

Mar 15 12 - 12:33pm
Repeat After Me

Give it a shot: "Opposing Planned Parenthood is NOT attacking womens' rights." If you like PP, donate your money and support it. I support Catholic Charities, among others that are pro-life. Taking the people's money to support non-Constitutional activities like elective healthcare is NOT an attack on anything except the taxpayers.