Week In Politics: Romney Headed To Poland

GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney traveled to Israel over the weekend, causing a stir with comments about Iran and other issues. He then gave interviews clarifying the remarks. Next, he travels to Poland.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

For some analysis of Governor Romney's trip abroad and some other political news, we turn, as we do most Mondays, to analyst Cokie Roberts. Good morning, Cokie.

COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Hi, Linda.

WERTHEIMER: So, Cokie, the stir that Mitt Romney has created on his trip abroad spurred him to grant interviews to several major U.S. news outlets in the last few days. How do you think those played?

ROBERTS: Well, he spent a lot of time walking back those comments that you just heard of his adviser, Dan Senor, who seemed to be blessing Israel striking against Iran. And he had to answer - everybody asked him about a new Newsweek cover that called him a wimp. And he said that, you know, he didn't lose sleep over something like. And more questions about his tax returns. And Democratic operatives out on the airwaves yesterday attacking his trip abroad.

So it hasn't gone exactly as I think that Romney campaign had planned, for him to have something of a triumphal march through London, Jerusalem and then onto Poland.

WERTHEIMER: So today is Poland. Why is he stopping in Poland? What does he hope to accomplish with that?

ROBERTS: Well, I think that part of it was a desire to portray President Obama as something of a wimp and say he has abandoned Eastern Europe. But look, you remember well the Reagan Democrats, those ethnic white voters who had been Democrats for many years, turned out for Ronald Reagan and have been fairly predictable Republicans since then. Now, it's a smaller percentage of the population, of the voting population than it used to be, but white voters are still much more Republican than any other group in the electorate.

They went for McCain in 2008 by 55 percent, and I think that, you know, getting those ethnic voters excited is really what Romney has in mind here. It's more for the folks at home, the descendants of the people that he will be speaking to in Poland.

WERTHEIMER: Now, while Romney is out of the country, the Democrats are announcing that they're bringing out the big guns to support President Obama, and giving former President Bill Clinton a major role at the convention.

ROBERTS: Yes. This must be a great moment for Bill Clinton, because as you remember, Al Gore, when he was running as having been Clinton's vice president, really did shut him out of that 2000 campaign and Clinton just fretted about it a lot. And then of course in the last election you had had Bill Clinton running against Barack Obama because his wife Hillary Clinton was running, and Clinton had made a lot of comments throughout that race that were not very flattering to President Obama.

So now, he is being given a big role reminding voters of how things were good when he was president. He's going to apparently have the Wednesday night slot at the convention which is usually reserved for the vice president. Instead, the vice president will introduce the president on Thursday night. There is a contrast here Linda, the Republicans, George W. Bush, has announced that he won't even go to the Republican convention.

So you've got this moment where, you know, you have enough time pass between a presidency and a convention, and suddenly that president is in really a nice glow, and Bill Clinton is now an elder statesman - it's hard to believe - of the Democratic party. I guess the one fear that the Obama troops have to watch out for is that he not talk forever as he has done as past conventions when he was a keynoter in '88 and, you know, everybody was really falling sleep. He has to keep them revved up and not go on.

WERTHEIMER: Well, we know that he's - sometimes he does it one way and sometimes he does it the other.

(LAUGHTER)

WERTHEIMER: Cokie, thank you very much.

ROBERTS: All right, Linda. This is really an interesting time because no matter what happens, this race stays tied at 46-46 in the latest Gallop.

WERTHEIMER: Political analyst Cokie Roberts.

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