Mitt Romney’s Image Is His Biggest Challenge

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Mitt Romney's biggest obstacle to achieving the presidency is not his GOP rivals, or even Barack Obama. It's how he's perceived by American voters.

His unfortunately long list of gaffes all point in the same direction -- that he just doesn't understand the plight of the average citizen and that he's hopelessly out of touch. He may have good qualifications. His success in business could be an asset. However, we just don't like him.

According to a poll published on the Washington Post, Romney is the least liked presidential candidate since 1984. He is perceived as less likeable than the president by a wide margin, three to one. Women especially dislike Romney, with 52 percent viewing him unfavorably and 27 percent viewing him favorably. With the recent GOP focus on turning back the clock on women's rights and Rush Limbaugh's unfortunate outbursts, this is no surprise.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, when asked by Yahoo! reporters to speculate on Romney's choices for vice president, joked: "He could choose one of his Cadillacs." Obviously, Romney's comments about his wife who "drives a couple Cadillacs" have not been forgotten. Neither have his comments about fear of the pink slip or liking to fire people, his $10,000 bet with Rick Perry, or his treatment of his dog, Seamus. He keeps reminding us that he just doesn't get what life is like for the rest of us. The way he treated his dog is just not nice.

Our impression of Romney is that he's just too rich, but according to Anthony Gregory of the Huffington Post, once a politician reaches the White House, he is in the 1 percent by default. Why are we so upset at Romney for his wealth?

Romney would be the second wealthiest president in history, according to After adjusting for inflation, George Washington was wealthier. Romney says he is "not too rich to relate" in his interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC News Monday. Maybe we could forget about his wealth if he would stop reminding us. It's a little distressing for people who are struggling to pay for groceries to hear about the new house in La Jolla that includes an elevator for the cars.

Romney has trouble in the liberal camp because he's too conservative (too rich?) and he's got trouble in the conservative camp because he's too moderate. Rick Santorum's parting shot, sent before he decided to quit the race, was a letter to voters expressing his deep concern over Romney's candidacy. The letter, printed in full in the Des Moines Register, says among other things, "It truly frightens me to think what'll happen if Mitt Romney is the nominee."

Maybe Romney needs to employ some Hollywood experts to revamp his image.

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