John Heilemann: 'Mitt Romney Is Never Going to be Likable'

It sure seems New York magazine's national affairs editor John Heilemann is shamelessly becoming a part of President Obama's reelection team.

After penning a much-discussed cover story Monday outlining the current White House's plans to attack its Republican opponent as the devil incarnate, Heilemann on this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show said, "Mitt Romney is never going to be likable" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: John, that's the weird question now: could we be on the verge of having a president getting elected who isn't particularly liked?

Think about that question for a moment.

As folks like Matthews and all on his panel support Obama in this election, their goal since primary season started has been to depict every Republican candidate as unfit and unlikable.

With virtually everyone in the national media painting a negative picture of Romney for over a year, how could he possibly be liked at this point in time?

It really is an amazing thing our news outlets do today: they savage their political opponents with all manner of hit pieces and negative stories until polls show their victims are suffering for it and then point to such surveys as evidence of unlikability.

But I digress:

JOHN HEILEMANN, NEW YORK MAGAZINE NATIONAL AFFAIRS EDITOR: We could be. Look, the president's people in Chicago and the White House have pointed to the personal attributes, the leads that he has, not just likeability being important - shares your values, strong leader, all those attributes they point to them as being huge assets that the president has, but the economy is a big millstone around his neck.

And Mitt Romney is never going to be likable because he is never going to be comfortable talking about the things that animate him as a person. The Romney campaign isn't going to try to fix that problem. They are just going to stay focused completely on this is a referendum on the president's economic stewardship. They think that they can within that argument, all the rest of it melts away.

A few minutes later, Heilemann elaborated:

HEILEMANN: There is a tag line that they were considering using in Chicago they may still use on Romney which is “He has never been in it for you.” So, what does that say? It says, it ties up he didn't create jobs at Bain. He didn't create jobs in Massachusetts. He has this problem of being a rich out of touch guy. He is in it for himself.

He's quite a marvelous surrogate, isn't he, especially given how folks like Newark Mayor Cory Booker and former President Bill Clinton have actually had better things to say about Romney recently than this so-called journalist.

What Heilemann did here much as he did in his Monday cover story was perfectly represent Obama talking points without addressing their inaccuracy: Bain did create jobs and Massachusetts unemployment fell from 5.6 percent to 4.7 percent under Romney.

As surrogates don't let facts get in the way of their talking points, Heilemann apparently doesn't feel the need to either:

HEILEMANN: And you talk about FDR or JFK, they were rich guys, but they projected this notion that they were on the side of the average voter.

Did they project that notion or did their adoring media? Why is it rich Democrats are tremendously admired by Heilemann and his ilk while Republicans of equal net worth are evil?

HEILEMANN: What Chicago wants to try to say about Romney is that he doesn't have your best interests at heart. He has never delivered for you. He is all about himself. They have to make Romney not scary, because he’s never going to be scary. He’s always going to be kind of dorky. They have to make him a Republican, because a lot of the people in the middle of the electorate think that Romney is a moderate not a Bush, Boehner, McConnell Republican. They have to nail him for that.

Heavens - not a Republican!

Anything but that!

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2012 Presidential Campaigns & Elections New York Magazine The Chris Matthews Show NBC Video John Heilemann Chris Matthews Barack Obama
Noel Sheppard's picture