Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to the media in Claremont,… (Andy Jacobsohn / McClatchy-Tribune )
Mitt Romney would like you to know that his Southern California mansion will only double in size after planned renovations, rather than quadruple, as has previously been reported.
File this one under the old axiom that if you're explaining, you're losing.
As Romney makes a second run for the White House, his campaign has tried to put forward a more relaxed, Everyman portrayal of the former Massachusetts governor, all the way down to his no-tie and skinny jeans wardrobe.
Stories like the one last week about him upgrading his $12-million mansion in La Jolla only serve therefore as unwelcome distractions, particularly when they won't go away.
Romney was asked about the report while schmoozing with New Hampshire voters at a Manchester diner. Why, the influential publisher of the Union Leader newspaper asked, did he give his foes "raw meat" by seeking permits to quadruple the beach home?
He responded that it wasn't accurate, and that the applications he made were to double the living space. "The 'quadrupling' was a measurement of added nonliving space, including a basement and garage," Joe McQuaid wrote, paraphrasing Romney.
A Romney campaign official said last week that the renovations were being made to make room for the couple's five married sons and 16 grandchildren. The official said the renovations would not begin until permits had been issued and the campaign was over.
Also this month, Romney disclosed a net worth of between $190 million and $250 million, including a town home near Boston and a lakefront compound on New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesaukee, valued at about $8 million.