After Mitt Romney appeared on Fox News last night and admitted that his "47 percent" comments were wrong, effectively throwing Fox News under the bus, Romney campaign surrogate Rep. Phil Gingrey appeared on CNN this morning to confirm that, yes, Mitt Romney is changing positions to win votes.
“The Republican, the conservative candidate in the primary, is always going to lean right and come back to the center for the general, the opposite for the Democrat. That’s all you are seeing here. It is very typical. We strong conservatives understand that. There are a lot of undecideds in this country…we want those votes too. So, this is campaign strategy.”
If the Romney campaign's goal for Wednesday night was to change the conversation inside the beltway from "Mitt's a loser" to "Mitt's a winner," it's safe to say they were successful, at least temporarily, but at what cost?
We haven't reached the point yet where tracking polls account for the full effect of the first presidential debate, however polls released thus far reveal that the dynamics of the campaign have either remain unchanged or may have even moved in the president's favor.
Romney successfully bamboozled the worry-warts at MSNBC with his over-the-top lie-fest and generated a temporary bump in enthusiasm among Republicans, but it seems more likely to me that average voters watched him say "I don't want to cut taxes" and then proceeded to laugh their asses off.
Romney may have won the first debate and may even win the next two, but it's too little, too late. After five years of running for president, Americans are very familiar with who Mitt Romney is and what he stands for. Attempting to change all of that four weeks away from the election is just going make people less inclined to take you seriously.
The conversation inside the conservative mediasphere has already gone from "Mitt Romney SMASH!" to "the BLS is a liberal conspiracy." And by Monday morning no one will even remember most of the first presidential debate, but they will remember that Mitt Romney pledged to fire Big Bird.