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Monday, September 17, 2012

For Romney Campaign, an Unpleasant Week


LOS ANGELES - In presidential campaigns, as in life, there are unlucky and unpleasant weeks.

Mitt Romney seems to be experiencing both of those right now.

It may be fleeting and it may not mean much in the grand scheme of the election, but for the moment, it has given his campaign an air of anxiety, not what it wants to exude on the heels of a national convention, with fewer than 50 days before Election Day.

On Sunday, just when it seemed that the rough patch might be over, there was this: a small plane crashed at the remote airport where Mr. Romney needed to land for a campaign rally in Colorado.

It was his sole public event of the weekend. It was in a swing state. It was canceled.< br />
A few hours later, as Mr. Romney was aboard a flight to Los Angeles, a story was published in Politico outlining growing tensions within his campaign, much of it surrounding the organization's chief political strategist, Stuart Stevens.

Dirty laundry was aired. Aides groaned, just about audibly.

So it went for Mr. Romney over the past few days.

New polls showed him losing his edge on the economy, once thought to be his unassailable competitive advantage in the race against President Obama, and lagging behind in crucial swing states.

Campaign finance filings revealed that his fierce fund-raising operation, which has bested Mr. Obama for several months in a row, lost out to him in August, by just enough to sting.

The political class, not to mention a number of Republicans, hammered Mr. Romney over a statement he issued calling the president's handling of the attacks on the Libyan consulate a “disgrace.” (With unpredictable events unfolding in the Middle East, it may yet boomerang and hurt Mr. Obama as well.)

On Sunday, in perhaps a fitting coda to a very long week, the Mitt Romney for President Web site put its campaign paraphernalia on sale. The discount: 20 percent.

Nobody judges a presidential campaign by what happens in a single week, and for that, the Romney campaign is no doubt grateful.