Mitt Romney's cantankerous side emerged again last night during a Fox News interview during which Bret Baier pushed the presidential candidate on his several position changes over the years. What made Romney's frustration last night different from its past occurrences was that this time it happened in the comfy conservative confines of Fox News instead of on the debate floor.
Putting Romney through the wringer on his flip-flops seemed like the No. 1 priority for Baier during the interview, which tackily took place in an industrial warehouse. Romney responded calmly to Baier's first question was about the New Hampshire Union Leader's endorsement of supposedly more consistent Newt Gingrich. But things got testier from there. "Your critics charge you make decision based on political expediency and not on core conviction," asked Baier, going on to list climate change, abortion, immigrantion, gay rights as some of his flip-flops.
Well Bret your list is just not accurate. One, we're going to have to be better informed about my views on issues. My view is, you can look at what I've written in my book.
ROMNEY: I'm glad the Democratic ads are breaking through, and you guys at Fox are seeing them.
BAIER: Jon Huntsman has a couple ads that do the exact same thing.
ROMNEY: And there's no question people are going to take snippets, take things out of context, and show there are differences when in some cases there are not.
Later, after Baier asks Romney about his evolving position on a mandate-based healthcare system:
ROMNEY: Bret, I don't know how many times I've said this too. This is an unusual interview. Hahaha. All right, let's do it again. Absolutely, what we did in Massachusetts was right for Massachusetts...
BAIER: But Governor, you did say on camera and in other places at times that you thought it would be a model for the entire nation.
ROMNEY: You're wrong Bret. No, you're wrong. The tape out there -- continue to read the tape -- the tape goes on the say for each state to be able to look at it.
During that last exchange, Romney crossed legs and shifted his weight while laughing awkwardly to defuse the tension with Briar. It was a minor episode of physical discomfort that echoed the way Romney touched Perry's shoulder during an October GOP debate, seemingly again to calm him down. It all plays into that subtly not-so-gentle side of Romney that's emerged during the 2012 campaign.