A major theme that has emerged during Mitt Romney‘s presidential campaign has been his refusal to face the press and answers questions. This was most evident during his overseas trip to Europe and Israel at the beginning of this month when he brought along an entire press pool who were essentially denied any access to the former governor. In one exchange when journalists began shouting questions at Romney, Romney’s press secretary Rick Gorka told reporters to “kiss my ass.” Even Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren complained that there was “no press access” during the trip and that the press pool had become a “modified petting zoo.”
The latest iteration of Romney’s ducking for cover from journalists happened yesterday when his handlers insisted to a local Denver TV station that they could not ask him any questions regarding the topic of abortion or Missouri Congressman Todd Akin‘s “legitimate rape” comment. As TPM reports:
Boyd told TPM that the Romney campaign offered her station an interview with Romney, one of several local news hits in swing states that Romney conducted via satellite Thursday. A campaign staffer whose name she didn’t divulge told her what questions she wasn’t allowed to ask.
“They said, you know, ‘the only stipulation is we don’t want you talking about the Akin issue,’” Boyd recalled. She also said the Romney staffer told her the campaign didn’t want questions for Romney about ‘the whole abortion controversy.’”
Boyd said she resisted.
“I said to them, ‘Look everybody’s talking about this. It’s going to seem awkward if I don’t ask about it,’” she said. “And they said, ‘Well he’s said all he’s going to say about it. He doesn’t have anything more to say, you won’t be getting any new information so we don’t want to talk about that.’”
“It was pretty clear: ‘Here’s our one stipulation,’” she recalled.
It’s difficult to understand what the Romney campaign is trying to accomplish by doing all of this. As I previously mentioned, his refusal to face questions has not played out well with journalists, because instead of reporting on a would-be answer from Romney, the only material they have to report on is the campaigns muzzling of the candidate. As in the case of his refusal to release more than two years of tax returns, Romney’s silence creates more negative news coverage than would otherwise exist. (That is unless the unreleased tax returns are in fact that damaging). And in this case, his refusal to speak about Akin and “the whole abortion controversy” seems to be creating extra negative coverage that would otherwise not exist.