In turns out that the gaffe-prone Mitt Romney was actually relatively restrained during his failed presidential campaign. As Republicans try to move on to a more positive agenda, Romney has reemerged to blame everyone but himself for the fact that he is not president-elect. His latest target: the media.
We had 20 Republican debates, that was absolutely nuts. It opened us up to gaffes and to material that could be used against us in the general, and we were fighting these debates for a year, and the incumbent president just sat back and laughed.
But of course, it wasn’t just the number of debates that upset Romney, it was who was hosting them:
[Next time, the Republicans are] gonna pick stations that are reasonable, it's not all gonna be done by CNN and NBC, alright, I mean we're gonna try and guide this process so that it's designed to showcase the best of our people as opposed to showcasing liberals beating the heck out of us.
Let’s strain that claim through the facts, shall we? There were actually 27 debates in total (this includes two “Lincoln-Douglas” debates that featured only Newt Gingrich and one other candidate), but Romney’s point that there were quite a lot does stand. The more interesting one is his issue with the hosts: mainstream media outlets like “CNN and NBC.” Romney participated in 23 of them. Of those 23, the major network debate hosts broke down as follows:
Fox News: 7
The following networks hosted one a piece: CBS, Bloomberg/Washington Post, CNBC, and Jim DeMint with the American Principles Project.
CNN and NBC, the networks Romney mentioned, had 10 of his 23 primary debates between them. The fact that Romney says these two are not reasonable is pretty questionable, seeing as both networks, especially CNN, often bend over backwards to give each party a say on the politics that they cover. Romney conveniently ignores that 7 of the debates came from Republican favorite Fox News. Furthermore, of the CNN debates, many were co-hosted by groups with major conservative credentials, including the Tea Party Express and the Heritage Foundation.
Romney is right to identify the primary season as a major burden on his presidential campaign, but he has the reasoning backwards. Because he was one of the more moderate Republican candidates, Romney had to continually tack to the right to fend off more conservative opponents, such as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, alienating more and more of America’s political center. Seriously, Romney should ask for a debate sponsored by MSNBC, hosted by Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow. For once, he could appear as the most reasonable one, and the rest of the candidates would have to scramble over toward his policy positions.