Walter Shapiro: “A Romney campaign appearance invites flights of fancy — not because of the poetry of the candidate’s words but because of the vacuity of the play-it-safe event… Romney’s stump speech includes a patriotic reading of stanzas from America, the Beautiful, ostensibly to prove that no one (certainly not that Europe-emulating president named Obama) can match his star-spangled patriotism. Listening to Romney, though, I was mostly inspired to recall the great Senate filibusters of yore, when exhausted legislators would read aloud fragments of poetry and pot-liquor recipes to run out the clock.”
“The sad thing — for those of us who love the spirited competition and hairpin turns of traditional New Hampshire primaries — is that Romney almost certainly will get away with his evasiveness. As a reporter chronicling his ninth New Hampshire primary (dating back to the days when George Bush boasted that he was “up for the Eighties”), I can recall no contested race in either party this devoid of energy. It feels like the primary is being conducted underwater, with every movement slow and exaggerated.