(Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder)
New York Times columnist David Brooks continues to criticize Mitt Romney. In his latest jibe, he called the Republican presidential nominee "the least popular candidate in history" during a panel discussion on NBC on Sunday.
"Mitt Romney does not have the passion for the stuff he's talking about," said Brooks, one of the panelists on NBC's "Meet the Press" roundtable on Sunday. "He's a problem solver. I think he's a non-ideological person running in an extremely ideological age, and he's faking it."
Host David Gregory mentioned Romney's "high unfavorable ratings." "At 50 percent. The highest of any candidate running in recent memory. This is an image problem that his philosophical statements in this speech in May to fundraisers only exacerbates."
Brooks, who has criticized Romney in his columns and television appearances lately, stated, "He has to look at what the president's weakness is. He's never gonna win a popularity contest."
Brooks went on to make suggestions to the GOP candidate. "So if I were him, I'd go to what he's been for the last several decades of his life: be a PowerPoint guy. Say 'I'm making a sales pitch to the country, here are the four things I'm going to reform. You don't have to love me but I'm going to do these four things for you.' And so I'd do a much more wonky and detailed thing than he's done so far."
Romney disagrees, maintaining that he has a "very effective campaign." On Sunday's CBS's "60 Minutes," Romney dismissed recent calls for a turnaround of his campaign. "Well, it doesn't need a turnaround. We've got a campaign which is tied with an incumbent president to the United States," he said.
While the latest Gallup tracking poll still shows Romney tied with President Barack Obama nationally, criticism of the Republican candidate has increased after a video leaked last week showed him saying at a Florida fundraiser, "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims."
Some Republicans also distanced themselves from Romney's comments. "I just don't view the world the same way he does," Politico quoted Nevada Sen. Dean Heller as saying last week. "Every vote in Nevada counts, every vote. And as a United States senator, my job is to represent every one of those votes whether they voted for me or against me."
Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, explained the comments last week. "The point we were trying to make is this: Because of the stagnant Obama economy, more and more people have become dependent on the government because they don't have economic opportunity," Ryan told a New Hampshire television station. However, he added, Romney's statements were "an inarticulate way of trying to make this point."