Romney Meets Russert

Today was, incredibly, the first time Mitt Romney has ever gone on Meet the Press, and it was for the full-hour candidate treatment. I think he survived it.

Russert focused almost exclusively on Romney's flip-flopping (after an initial query on religion), perhaps with the thought that an hour of it would accumulate into something that might throw Romney off his game -- fat chance, Tim.

The one harmful piece, I thought, was the tape recording of Romney speaking to the Boston Globe in 2005, effectively calling the old McCain immigration proposal reasonable. That is intensely at odds not only with Romney's current position, but moreso with Romney's berating of his Republican opponents on immigration. If that audio clip now gets renewed life, I think it could seriously hurt Romney in Iowa and New Hampshire.

By concentrating just on the flip-flopping, Russert didn't really go at Romney at all on his performance as Massachusetts governor, Winter Olympics chairman, or Bain Capital owner, or a variety of other issues and questions. The flip-flopping -- or evolution, depending on one's view -- is pretty well established in most voters minds by now, I think, so rehashing those points probably doesn't hurt Romney too much. Doesn't help, but probably doesn't hurt too much.

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