Mitt Romney with groceries after a shopping trip in Wolfeboro, N.H., on… (Charles Dharapak / Associated…)
Mitt Romney, regular Joe? Apparently so.
Sure, Romney’s wife has a pony in the Olympics. And the Romneys do own a $12-million beachfront home in La Jolla, which they paid cash for. (And in a story familiar to Californians, it's a house that isn't worth nearly what they paid for it, apparently, so they've gotten property tax relief).
And speaking of taxes, the GOP presidential candidate has been, well, reluctant to release his returns from the last few years, resulting in a nasty spat over the weekend with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who claims to have inside information that Romney didn't pay taxes for 10 years.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS: Presidential Election 2012
But that doesn’t mean Romney doesn’t put his pants on one leg at a time. Or, when it comes to shopping and cooking, that he’s less “leader of the free world” Mitt than “lost at home without a wife” Mitt.
Case in point: According to my colleague Maeve Reston, Romney “made a brief public appearance Monday near his summer retreat in Wolfeboro, N.H., slipping into town to swing by his favorite hardware store and the grocery store.”
OK, true, for most of us, “summer retreat” means our backyards, but c’mon, give the man a break. He’s a Republican and a 1 percenter. A guy’s gotta fit in.
But here’s Romney’s 99% moment:
After leaving his lakefront home on Lake Winnipesaukee, the candidate stopped by Bradley’s Hardware, where he emerged with a beige bucket and told reporters he had picked up “hardware stuff.”
He then swung by Hunters Shop ’n Save, where he picked up two ears of native sweet corn (on sale at two for $1), 12-packs of Caffeine Free Diet Coke and Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi and a 24-pack of Poland Springs bottled water.
After meeting with advisors Monday, Romney said he planned to make his own dinner: “That’s not exactly cooking.”
Yum! Two ears of corn and a bunch of soda. Pair that with one of those Hungry Man dinners in the fridge and you’ve got a full meal.
Now, it’s not clear the Romney is making any headway in the polls. The Times’ interactive battleground map, updated Monday, shows President Obama ahead in states with 247 electoral votes, while Romney leads in states with 191. (Although the GOP candidate is still raking in boatloads of cash. The Times reported Monday he scooped up $101.3 million in July, compared with the president’s more than $75 million.)
Still, you’ve got to admit that he burnished his regular guy credentials with his shopping jaunt.
Plus, who knows: By choosing Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi, Romney perhaps let slip that he’s not quite the staid guy we usually see on the stump.
Although I'll bet Harry Reid wonders what "hardware stuff" he was hiding in that bucket.
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