A South Florida marketing executive on Monday released emails he says show the real reason Mitt Romney lost the presidential election: Romney’s failure to respond to late night talk show host David Letterman’s unrelenting attacks against the former governor in the form of monologues and comedy bits that portrayed Romney as an out-of-touch rich guy who likes to torture his pet dog by tying him to the roof of the family car.
The emails, sent to high-level Romney campaign staffers, show that Jay Schorr, president of Hallandale Beach, Florida-based TMR Multimedia, recommended that the Romney campaign launch an offensive against Letterman by having Romney do 30-second joke-laden monologues aimed at the late night icon. The spots, Schorr believed, would have shown a more engaging, affable Romney who was not afraid to poke fun at himself and Letterman.
“Mitt had an opportunity to give himself a Clintonian moment like Bill Clinton did when he played his sax on the Arsenio Hall Show during the ’92 presidential election campaign, “ said Schorr. “Clinton’s campaign and popularity really took off after that appearance.”
Many pundits believe that comedic swipes at presidential candidates by popular late night talk show hosts can significantly sway voter sentiment. TMR Multimedia research confirmed the influence of late night monologues on likely voters, particularly the so-called independents.
“I recommended that Romney air the 30-second monologue spots during Letterman’s show as part of Romney’s paid political announcements,” Schorr said. “Ultimately, it would have set up a Letterman vs. Romney monologue challenge to be broadcast on the Late Night with David Letterman show.”
Instead, Schorr says, the Romney campaign opted for a conservative, non-aggressive advertising campaign approach that, Schorr believes, cost Romney the election.
“Romney let Letterman – and the other late night hosts – off the hook. Instead of counterpunching and taking the offensive, the Romney campaign covered its face with the gloves and stood against the ropes as it took a nightly beating from Letterman.”
Schorr says Romney’s biggest failure was his inability to present himself as a candidate who can relate to the unwashed masses. TMR Multimedia’s monologue campaign, Schorr believes, would have gone a long way in establishing an emotional connection with middle class Americans.
“The $300 million dollars spent by Karl Rove’s PACs on banal campaign ads in swing states – ads which were ineffective as evidenced by Romney’s loss of those swing states – would have better been utilized to reach the Average Joe and Jane in middle America with the monologue ads,” said Schorr. “Late night plays in Peoria.”
When contacted about Letterman’s role in Romney’s defeat, staffers at Late Night with David Letterman had no comment.