Romney’s binder “blunder” in Tuesday’s second U.S. presidential debate is memorable. Then there was his Libya “lie” that was immediately corrected by both Barack Obama and CNN moderator Candy Crowley.
But while both incidents have received p
ress coverage and airtime, what some in the media also have noted in the days following the Hofstra University debate has been the former Massachusetts governor’s bullying tendencies. “Romney Gives New Meaning to Bully Pulpit” and “Mitt the Naïve Bully” are two such articles.
The president and Jim Lehrer faired poorly in the first debate, but there was a great deal of “popping and pummeling” by Joe Biden of Paul Ryan in the vice-presidential debate – and President Obama more than held his own against Romney’s rants on Tuesday. These stories have been widely reported: “Biden Pops and Pummels To Win Debate” and “‘Romney the Bully’ and the President – It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over.”
Romney’s bullying, though, may well be the story with the longest legs, as the bullying appears to be a pattern. Stories of Rommey’s bullying a gay teenage boy at Cranbrook School already have taken on a life of their own: “Bullying Story Spurs Apology From Romney” and “Mitt Romney, Bully.”
These examples exist despite stories denying the bullying, such as “NBC Reports Romney Bully Story Labeled ‘Factually Incorrect’ By Family of Alleged Victim” and Family of Romney’s Alleged Bully Victim Speaks Out: ‘The Portrayal of John is Factually Incorrect’.”
But the perception seems to be growing that Romney is like a character in a “Harry Potter” movie: a “shape shifter” desperate to become whatever is needed to get to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. In the process, he is willing – and very able – to run roughshod over facts and people alike. And the media are asking whether such bullying is indeed the best way to reach the nation’s so-called “bully pulpit.”