While Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck show off their skills at the NFL combine, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney tried to show his off Friday at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. However, these college recruits got more attention this weekend for small details like their height and weight than politician Romney.
So what did Romney do wrong to scare off Michigan? What quarterbacks avoid. Throwing a ball without thinking or looking, forgetting the strengths of the stadium you're playing at, and admiring big linemen. In this case, Romney pitched his finance policy in a venue within a city he once called hopeless, and awkwardly talked about trees. Such mistakes could lead to costly results.
Winning Michigan is crucial for Romney, not just because it's his home ground. His financial agenda includes several fixes to the state, which is plagued with high unemployment. Sharing such plans and a hopeful attitude seems misleading to those unsure about Romney, since his "Let Detroit go bankrupt" New York Times op-ed in 2008. Ready for this criticism, Romney tried to counter it on Friday by counting the number of American-made cars he and his wife share.
In football, players take the stadium they are playing at into consideration. Playing outdoors means more risks when throwing far passes or running because of wind and weather. Teams play more of a mind game when playing indoors. Romney aimed too far, too soon, giving a speech to 1,200 people at the 80,000-seat home of the Detroit Lions. Conservative commentator Laura Ingraham calls this a critically wrong move for the GOP candidate.
"The pictures of an empty Ford Field are not helping Romney," she tweeted. "Poor staging and tepid response from hometown crowd.”
Although first place typically goes to Romney during the primaries, failing to consider his audience and the publicity he'll receive can hurt his chances. When it comes to Michigan, he's doing far worse than young Griffin is in the N.F.L. combine.
Griffin's heavily publicized height solidified to 6 feet 2-3/8 inches makes him the second overall pick behind Luck. In his recent attempt to win Michigan, Romney praised the state's tall trees to a small crowd of 1,200 in the Detroit Lions' stadium.
"This feels good, being back in Michigan," Romney said. "You know, the trees are the right height."
While this seems like a good conversation opener, Romney should avoid such irrelevancy and respond to the punches coming at him about his previous comments on Detroit, not passing them up to talk about cars or trees.
Griffin might be the No. 2 pick in the N.F.L. draft, but that's just a number. He'll get a job playing for a team. For Romney and the other GOP candidates, not everybody wins. Perhaps Romney should put more conscientious effort to playing the difficult game of winning state by state, not acting like he's already won.
Photo Credit: Monica's Dad