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For a better Amercia (sic)

BY JACOB LANCASTER | JUNE 12, 2012 6:30 AM

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Americans now have made repeatedly rewarded presidential candidates after they commit faux pas.

Four years ago, we elected Barack Obama after he said he had visited "all 57 states," and last week, Mitt Romney won over enough Texas delegates to make him the unofficial Republican candidate after misspelling America ("Amercia") in his recently released iPhone app.

With 18- to 34-year-olds being the most active users of social media, according to a Nielson study, the app's goal was to connect with the demographic that propelled the Obama campaign four years ago.

And, in respect for his intelligence and capabilities of revision, I would hope to believe that Mitt himself didn't even see or use the app before attempting to wield it to capture votes from us trend-loving young people.

This disconnect from voters started when he said, "Corporations are people" in Des Moines, and it has continued with slip-ups such as mentioning his wife's "couple of Cadillacs" while giving a speech in Grand Rapids, Mich. His inability to charm voters has been his Achilles' heel, a wound he has bandaged with financial support.

The app titled "With Mitt" allows its users to take pictures with a collection of cliché pro-Romney sayings to share on various social media: "American Greatness" is one, "Obama isn't working" is another. And if you downloaded the app on its début day, "A Better Amercia [sic]" would be another option.

The problem with it is that it's too cheesy for young Republicans to use seriously, making it perfect for young, snarky liberals. A writer for Vanity Fair even used it to post on its website a picture of her favorite bottle of wine with the saying "Day One Job One" and "I'm with Mitt" bannered across one corner.

Stephen Colbert recently tweeted a picture of himself with the "A Better Amercia [sic]" and then followed it by tweeting "Mitt Romney's email was hacked. So if you start getting messages that sound like they're from a bot, he's fixed the problem." Romney himself likes to answer questions dealing with his "bot" demeanor by circling back to addressing the economy, which his supporters care chiefly about that. There is, also, the argument that Obama has only charmed his way through his presidency, making up for poor performance with reassuring speeches and public appearances.

Romney was a fantastic businessman and he understands the economy — there's no arguing that — but there are gaps between being a businessman and being the leader of the free world, and he simply cannot make up that gap in the upcoming months of this election. When the Republican candidates were still displaying a passion for Iowa voters, I went to Cedar Rapids to see Romney's speech before the final caucus votes went in. Romney came out with his wife, three of his five sons, and his brother. His three sons, all fathers themselves, were matched in sweaters as if ready for Sunday school. His wife stood with her hands folded in her lap until it was her time to introduce her husband.

During her speech, she didn't look at Romney or her children as she proclaimed her deep love for them. Her feet didn't move from their original spot; her hand held the microphone at a perfectly practiced angle; her hair stood concrete. Her sons never stopped smiling, Romney's brother looked delighted to be on stage, and then she joined them behind Romney as he took the microphone with his back to them. Sitting silently, they all looked like fantastic ornaments.


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