On Thursday, New York Times campaign reporters Michael Barbaro and Ashley Parker filed a relatively positive story on the suddenly resurgent Romney campaign: "Romney Campaign Looks to Capitalize on Image Voters Saw in Debate."
Inside Mitt Romney’s campaign headquarters over the past few days, the data pouring in was unmistakable. Aides scouring the results of focus groups and national polls found that undecided voters watching the presidential debate in Denver seemed startled when the Republican candidate portrayed all year by Democrats -- the ultraconservative, unfeeling capitalist -- did not materialize.
On Thursday the New York Times's Romney-beat campaign reporter Ashley Parker returned to Romney's tired "47 percent" controversy in "Romney Ad Reaches Out to Working Class." Not content with recycling old anti-Romney issues, Parker also recycled her criticism of Romney – so far she has described Romney as "defensive" in at least 12 news stories, including this one, according to a Nexis search.
The New York Times is certainly not treating Barack Obama's statement on 60 Minutes that the death of four Americans in Libya, including Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens, as one of a few "bumps in the road," as a callous and politically damaging gaffe. Reporter Ashley Parker reluctantly covered Romney delivering "talking points" to the media on the matter, in "Republican Team Attacks Obama on Foreign Policy," but her story opened by highlighting Romney's "tough" time, including yet another mention of Romney's "47 percent" comment at a private fundraiser.
In an interview that aired Sunday, Obama was asked by CBS's Steve Kroft whether "the recent events in the Middle East given you any pause about your support for the governments that have come to power following the Arab Spring?"
Obama responded in part: "But I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because, you know, in a lot of these places, the one organizing principle has been Islam."
A secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser about the "47 percent of the country who are dependent on government," put out last night by the liberal magazine Mother Jones, calls into question whether Romney is "at base, an empathetic and caring man." That's according to the New York Times, which rushed the Monday night breaking news onto Tuesday morning's front page in a story by Michael Shear and Michael Barbaro, "In Video Clip, Romney Calls 47% ‘Dependent’ and Feeling Entitled."
The New York Times spelled out its habit of trying to wrong-foot Mitt Romney on Thursday's front page coverage of the violence in Egypt and Libya. The banner headline over Thursday's front page, "Attack On U.S. Site In Libya Kills Envoy; A Flash Point For Obama And Romney," ushered in coverage of the attacks on U.S. embassies in Libya and Egypt, with the assault in Libya resulting in four deaths, including the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Times reporters Peter Baker and Ashley Parker made sure to follow the media template in characterizing Mitt Romney's criticism of the Obama administration as "clumsy and badly timed and Romney himself as "on the defensive" (twice!) in "A Challenger's Criticism Is Furiously Returned."
New York Times campaign reporter Ashley Parker tried to put Mitt Romney on the back foot from the opening sentence of her article on his speech to the National Guard convention in Reno: "After Criticism of His Convention Speech, Romney Thanks Nation's Armed Forces."
Facing criticism for failing to mention American troops or the Afghan war effort in his convention speech, Mitt Romney spoke before National Guard members on Tuesday and called for robust support of the nation’s armed forces, saying that “the return of our troops cannot and must not be used as an excuse to hollow out our military through devastating defense budget cuts.”
When the New York Times sends reporters to compare and contrast the Romney and Obama campaign styles, little surprise who comes off looking best. The banner headline on the front of Monday's special Campaign 2012 section set the scene: "Two Campaigns With Styles as Similar as Red and Blue."
Ashley Parker and Michael Barbaro trailed the Republica candidate in Iowa and found that while "Earnest and Efficient, Romney Spares the Subtlety." (Because electoral campaigns are typically known for subtlety.)
No matter what campaign tactic Mitt Romney chooses, it's the wrong one. A July 12 New York Times headline reads: "Romney Faces Calls to Deliver Counterpunch." Jeff Zeleny and Ashley Parker began their front-page "campaign memo" relaying concerns from the GOP that he is not counterattacking Obama:
Mitt Romney and his team of advisers built a reputation during the Republican primaries as tough street fighters skilled in the tactics of political warfare. They quietly took pride in tearing apart Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and the rest of their rivals.
Republican candidate Mitt Romney received a predictably mixed reception at the NAACP's annual convention in Houston on Wednesday, giving New York Times reporter Ashley Parker an easy target: "To Boos and Polite Applause, Romney Speaks to the N.A.A.C.P."
Parker emphasized the "cackles and boos" he received for his criticism of Obama-Care, and even used Romney's father, the late Michigan Gov. George Romney, to dismiss his record on "civil rights and diversity."
New York Times reporter Ashley Parker was in Las Vegas and made controversy Wednesday over Mitt Romney's appearance at a fundraiser with media mogul and political controversialist Donald Trump. Parker used Trump's "birther" beliefs as an excuse to dredge up old Romney flubs: "Romney, on His Big Day, Finds Himself Upstaged."
It was supposed to be a day of triumph for Mitt Romney, when he would at last formally claim the Republican presidential nomination with a victory in the Texas primary. And Mr. Romney was to focus attention on an aggressive new attack on President Obama, highlighting the White House’s role in backing failed companies like Solyndra.
Instead, Tuesday was hijacked by Donald J. Trump. Inexplicably to many in his party, Mr. Romney had scheduled an appearance at a fund-raiser in Las Vegas on Tuesday night with Mr. Trump.
Friday's off-lead New York Times story by Mark Landler and Jeff Zeleny portrayed a triumphant Obama and his likely November opponent Mitt Romney on the defensive after Obama's announcement that he now supports gay marriage: "Obama Campaign Pushes the Issue Of Gay Marriage – Romney Avoids Subject – Biden Said to Apologize Over Comment That Hastened Action."
As the president traveled to the West Coast on Thursday, where in Seattle he said Americans should have the chance to succeed “no matter who you love,” his presumptive challenger, Mitt Romney, and Republican leaders in Congress, tried, with limited success, to steer the focus of the presidential campaign back to the nation’s sluggish economy.
New York Times campaign reporter Ashley Parker looks back semi-fondly at Mitt Romney's apparently successful run for the Republican nomination in her Sunday "news analysis," "A Romney Rambler Looks Back."
The people who said that this race was boring and that it couldn’t possibly compete with the excitement and stature of 2008 may yet be right. But they, too, will be back out on the trail. After all, a predictable, even-keeled and sometimes awkward nominee is still far more interesting than a predictable, even-keeled and sometimes awkward politician in a field of nearly a dozen.
And, frankly, most of us who have been there since the beginning find the rap on Mr. Romney that he’s dull and vanilla a little unfair. Sure, it can be monotonous to listen to the same measured stump speech again and again, but Mr. Romney’s usual adherence to the script has given us a newfound appreciation for those little quirks and moments when he blips off message.