I have long thought somebody should go through and annotate the 2012 Mitt Romney: Full Transcript of the 47% Secret Video. So I will now do it.
Part XIII: The Election Is Winnable:
Now the audience turns away from foreign policy to the election--to what the audience can do to help Romney win. And Romney's first response is to cherry-pick a single number from an outlier poll.
There are two views of this:
This might be a very, very bad sign about how Romney handles information: cherry-picking isolated numbers that support you may be a way to win internal bureaucratic struggles among management consultants, but it is really bad executive analytic practice and leads to bad decisions.
Romney might well discount this outlier poll number in his inner counsels. But then the fact he thinks he needs to lead his conversation about the election with this group with misleading happy talk suggests an unwillingness to take his donors seriously: cattle to be herded into opening up their checkbooks, rather than partners to be leveled with and learned from.
But at the end of this passage Romney lets his hair down: he dismisses the possibility of an adverse gender gap, but he highlights a possible Hispanic gap:
Audience Member: Individuals in this room obviously are your supporters. I am very concerned that the average American, who doesn't know you, there's a terrible misconception. And I spend numerous hours trying to [unintelligible]. Years and years ago, I called George Bush Sr., and he had helped me in my campaign in Massachusetts when I ran for Senate. I told him that there's a guy named Clinton who's running for the following reasons. And he laughed. Right now, I'm very concerned… Women would not want to be involved for you. Hispanics, majority of them do not want to vote for you. College students don't. After talking to them, and explaining and rationalizing on a one-on-one basis, we are able to change their opinions. But on a mass level, what do you want us to do, this group here, as your emissaries, going out to convert these individuals to someone who's obviously going to be such an incredible asset to this country. We want you.
Audience Member: But what do we do? Just tell us what we can help…
Romney: I have—I have some good news for you. It's not impossible. Now, the reason I say that is for instance, the New York Times had a poll last week, the New York Times and NBC, and I was leading by two points among women. All right. Now, the president came out and said this is an outrageous poll, they don't know what they were doing—by the way, the polls at this stage make no difference at all—but the point is, women are open to supporting me. They like the president [unintelligible], but they're disappointed. They're disappointed with the jobs they're seeing for their kids, they're disappointed with their own economic standing right now.
So we can capture women's votes, we're having a much harder time with Hispanic voters...