Romney: ‘I don’t like vampires personally’

Mitt Romney appeared on NBC’s “Today” show this morning, and in apparent attempt to appear more relaxed and personable, conceded that he occasionally likes “silly stuff.”

“I mean, I like the Twilight series. I thought it was fun,” Romney said. “I don’t like vampires personally, I don’t know any, but you know my granddaughter was reading it and I thought, ‘Well this looks like fun,’ so I read that.”

Let’s put aside the notion of a 64-year-old presidential hopeful enjoying the Twilight series. What stood out for me in this little quote was Romney feeling the need to mention he doesn’t “like vampires personally,” followed in the next breath by a reminder that he doesn’t “know any” vampires.

One can almost see the gears shifting in Romney’s mind, as if he’s thinking, “Wait, will social conservatitves throw a fit if I like tween vampire fiction? Maybe I should mention that I don’t like vampires. But will that make it sound as if I know vampires? Maybe I should mention I don’t know any.”

It’s understandable that Romney and his campaign team want to make the candidate seem more likable and less animatronic. But is it me, or do these efforts usually end up making Romney look kind of ridiculous?

The “who let the dogs out” clip is still seared in my brain four years later, and listening to Romney talk about vampires is nearly as bad.

I don’t imagine Romney wants my advice, but I’d nevertheless suggest he not try too hard.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.