Mitt Romney was in damage-control mode yesterday, stressing his support for the anti-union measure in Ohio just a day after enraging many on the right by refusing to take a position on it. His defense was dishonest, but it seemed to effectively end the media’s pushback.

The damage, however, already appears to have been done. On Fox News last night, Karl Rove called Romney out for his “problematic” mistake.

“Who didn’t think about this issue when they knew they were going to Ohio and going to a phone bank where they were calling people on behalf of proposition five?

“This happens in a campaign, but it’s problematic, because it adds to the narrative that he is not strong. The good news is, so far, he’s stronger than the rest of the pack.”

Rove added that Romney made himself look “squishy.” That’s not a word leading presidential candidates generally want to hear.

And with that in mind, American Bridge 21st Century released this video last night, not only showing Romney’s reversal, but also presenting media coverage from Ohio that looks pretty brutal.

YouTube video

It’s tempting to think Romney will have to be more careful next time, but therein lies the problem: his overly-cautious instincts are what got him into trouble in the first place. He could be even more robotic in calculating the political implications of every sentence, but that’s unlikely to help his authenticity problem.

I’d encourage Romney to just be himself for a while, but by all indications, he doesn’t know who that is anymore.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.