According to The Boston Herald's Hillary Chabot, Mitt Romney aims to try to emerge from the large shadow cast over him by "pop culture and new media megastar" Sarah Palin. The former Massachusetts governor hopes to "recapture the limelight" with a guest appearance on the “Tonight Show” with Jay Leno Tuesday night. But there is a difference of opinion among observers about the effectiveness of such a strategy:
Romney supporters said his first “Tonight Show” guest spot since his failed 2008 presidential bid was not inspired by the All-Sarah-All-the-Time coverage of his chief rival for the GOP nomination.Chabot says Romney has also been trying to close the social media gap between him and the 2008 vice presidential candidate. But he has a long way to go. Sarah Palin, she notes, has more than three times the number of Twitter followers and Facebook friends that Romney does. Blogging clinical law professor William A. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection tells Chabot that may be an insurmountable goal for Romney, opining “I don’t think anybody can catch her in terms of social media. She really has pioneered use of Facebook as primary means of communication with the public.”
Palin has saturated the air waves — bludgeoning halibut on her Alaska reality show on TLC, cheering on daughter Bristol from a front-row seat on the ABC hit “Dancing with the Stars,” dishing politics on Fox News and flogging her second book on a coast-to-coast tour.
Spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said Romney has nothing to promote, and simply thought the Leno sit-down would be “fun.”
Others say a laid-back chat with Bay State native Leno will give the straight-arrow Romney a chance to let down his blow-dried hair in front of millions of late-night couch potatoes.
“He’s trying to make sure people don’t forget him,” said John Feehery, a Republican consultant based in Washington D.C. “He’s trying to humanize himself and appear sympathetic.”
GOP consultant and pollster Steve Lombardo advised Romney to avoid an all-out star war with a star of Palin’s magnitude.
“I think it would be a mistake for Romney to try to out-celebrity Sarah Palin. I don’t think anyone can do that right now,” Lombardo said. “He’ll probably never have the celebrity status or connect with the core Republican party like she does.”