"Mitt Romney's Ford Field Fumble?" asks ABC News.
It's a rhetorical question. Of course he fumbled. And what an embarrassing fumble it was:
Standing on the 30-yard line of Detroit's Ford Field, Mitt Romney delivered what was billed as a major economic speech before a crowd of about 1,200 supporters on Friday.
In his crucial home state of Michigan, Romney reiterated his new tax plan to applause from an audience dwarfed by the scope of the stadium that seats up to 80,000 spectators.
The Romney campaign promised an economic policy speech on filled with major new policy initiatives, but as it turned out, the venue may have been too big for his message. The supporters, sitting in folding chairs on the field of the indoor football stadium that is home to the NFL's Detroit Lions, were surrounded by tens of thousands of empty seats.
"I want to thank the folks at the Ford Field for making this space available for us," Romney said. "I guess we had a hard time finding a large enough place to meet and this certainly is."
The speech itself was typical Romney. If you've been paying attention, you've heard it all before. He said that Detroit should be "the motor city of the world," though of course he was against the auto bailout -- which has proven to be a huge success.
As The Hill notes:
Television cameras showed rows of empty chairs as Romney rehashed many of the policies and quips he'd used in previous speeches, made a few jokes that appeared to fall flat with the audience and said that his wife, Ann, drives "a couple of Cadillacs," which will likely give Democrats more ammunition for their depiction of him as rich and out of touch.
Most of Romney's speech was focused on rehashing the tax policies he'd released earlier this week, and repeating attacks he’d made previously on President Obama. Romney promised to lower taxes and repeal Obama’s healthcare overhaul, comments he makes during nearly all of his speeches.
And those in attendance were not terribly impressed, it would seem:
After an audience member asked Romney if he thought he'd have the best chance to beat Obama, Romney dismissed the other GOP candidates.
"I not only think I have the best chance, I think I have the only chance — maybe I'm overstating it a bit," he said, chuckling awkwardly.
"That's my family leading the applause," he said quickly, although no one was clapping, then laughed again. No one appeared to laugh with him.
Awk... ward. And this from the Republican frontrunner and likely nominee? Yes. And this is what it's come to: Romney bullshitting, the media calling him on his bullshit, and whatever appeal he has left draining away. It's like no one's even taking him seriously anymore as he runs as far as he can to the right while keeping an eye on the center he must head to should he win the nomination, promoting a far-right agenda on everything from the economy to immigration to same-sex marriage to unions to Iran, but doing so without even a shred of credibility, so obvious does it seem that he'll do and say anything for votes, and blaming Obama for everything under the sun, so much so that it's all become quite ridiculous, his act so laughable, his inability to connect so blatant, his desperation so palpable that the negative media narrative is writing itself, and deepening, every time he opens his mouth or even just appears in public.
Even his key surrogates, the Chris Christies and Ann Coulters of the world, must find it hard to summon any enthusiasm. Imagine how the party faithful will react when he walks out to give his acceptance speech at the convention later this year. They'll back him because he's the Republican and because they hate the president, but will there be any genuine love for Romney himself?
A speech full of the usual banality to some unimpressed supporters in the middle of a mostly empty stadium in a state that he calls his own pretty much says it all.