‘The real streets of America’

As the Republican presidential field shrinks to just four candidates, we’re left with four experienced contenders, all of whom can fairly be characterized as political professionals.

But only one of the four has never held office in Washington: Mitt Romney. He’s tried to serve in D.C. — running for the Senate in 1994 and for president in 2008 — but so far, voters haven’t been inclined to send him to the nation’s capital.

The former governor appears eager to use this distinction to his advantage. Consider this line from last night:

“[W]e need to send to Washington someone who has not lived in Washington, but someone who’s lived in the real streets of America…. We need to have someone outside Washington go to Washington.” [emphasis added]

Seriously? Romney’s from “the real streets”?

I’m sure there’s a very nice street that leads to his $12 million oceanfront mansion in California (the one Romney is quadrupling in size). The street is also no doubt lovely on the way to the $10 million home in New Hampshire and his townhouse in Belmont, Mass.

There’s also a perfectly nice street on the way to the nearby mansion, where one of Romney’s sons lives, and where Romney was registered to vote as recently as last year, as well as the $5 million ski chalet in an exclusive area in Utah, which Romney sold in 2010.

When Romney boasts about having lived in “the real streets,” are these the streets he’s referring to?

Perhaps he was referring to his more modest upbringing — when he lived with his father, who served as governor of Michigan and chairman and CEO of American Motors?

If Romney wants to present himself as a Washington outsider, fine. But maybe he can spare us the talk about his background in “the real streets of America.”