The last seven days have not been kind to Mitt Romney, what with the secret video release and the mostly poor reception of his tax information dump. Perhaps wisely, the candidate decided to lay low this weekend — as did running mate Paul Ryan and most of their usual campaign surrogates. In their place, all by his lonesome on ABC’s This Week, was Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who did his best to put a positive spin on things.
First, there was his strangely worded response to calls for more details on Romney’s and Ryan’s budget plans: “We have specifics coming out of our eyeballs,” Preibus claimed, before briefly pointing to the ticket’s spending and deficit reduction targets without offering any new information. He also insisted that Republicans remain competitive in Senate races throughout the country — although CNN and NPR disagree somewhat. Finally, he revealed his rosy assessment that “we had a good week last week.”
“Well, I don’t know what prism he’s looking through,” replied Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod, who also appeared on This Week. “I don’t think anybody else would define it as a good week.” Rather, he said, it was an “enlightening” one.
Republican pundits came forward with similar opinions on the week that was: Bill Kristol labeled Romney’s “47 percent” comments as “arrogant and stupid” before calling on the candidate to embrace this as an election built around a choice. The New York Times’ David Brooks told NBC’s Meet the Press that Romney is “a nonideological person running in an extremely ideological age, and he’s faking it,” which has cost him dearly. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan — who recently called Romney a “rolling calamity” — said on CBS’s Face the Nation today that “privately the constant communication I got was, ‘Thank you for saying that.’”
While Priebus certainly wasn’t thanking Noonan, he seems pretty confident that this vigorous debate will play out well. “I promise you on my life,” he said on This Week, “I’m not sitting here talking to you because I’m worried about the future of the Republican Party.” Note he didn’t mention anything about the future of the Romney campaign.