As voters head to the polls in New Hampshire’s Republican primary tonight, the bar is set very high for Mitt Romney. Romney has been up by 30 points against his Republican contenders for months here in the Granite State, and for good reason: In addition to having a home here and having worked and raised a family next door in Massachusetts—where he was governor for four years—Romney has spent four years investing time and resources to win New Hampshire by a huge margin. By anyone’s reckoning, Romney should be running away with this thing.
Yet over the past 48 hours, we have seen increased scrutiny over central claims to Romney's candidacy from the media and Romney's opponents, and that scrutiny has caused his support to drop in advance of the primary. That’s because the more New Hampshire voters see of Mitt Romney, the less they like him. Consider the past few days:
- Romney keeps falsely claiming credit for creating 100,000 jobs as a corporate-buyout specialist for Bain Capital. As the Washington Post pointed out in a fact-check today, that’s “an untenable figure,” and the Romney campaign has failed to provide “a real accounting of how many jobs were gained or lost through Bain Capital investments.”
- Over the weekend, Romney said, “There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip,”yet his campaign has been unable to offer any examples of when he might have been concerned about losing his job. This is not surprising, as we know that Romney took the job with Bain Capital after working out a deal that was so sweet, it included zero risk.
- Just yesterday morning, in a shocking moment of true honesty, Romney said, “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.” That’s precisely the approach he took at Bain, where his business model was to put profits over people—regardless of the consequences for working and middle-class families.
The central rationale Romney has made for his candidacy—that his business experience and economic background make him fit to lead the country—is unraveling before our very eyes. That’s where Mitt Romney stands heading into tonight’s New Hampshire primary, and simply put, if Romney doesn’t greatly exceed the 32 points he got in his 2008 second-place finish, this will be a loss for him.