In an interview on Live! With Kelly and Michael, Mitt and Ann Romney tackled gotcha questions about guilty pleasures and which spouse hogs the sheets. But because these fun, off-the-cuff questions were meant to make the couple appear more human, they mostly just backfired.
Take Mitt's response to the "Honey Boo or Snooki?" question.
I'm kind of a Snooki fan. Look how tiny's she's gotten. She's lost weight. She's energetic. Just her spark-plug personality is kind of fun.
Aside from the fact that he appears to be throwing shade at the full-figured Honey Boo Boo, Romney sounds ridiculous. "Her spark-plug personality is kind of fun" is not only a terrible assessment of Snooki but also a detached, inhuman way to describe anyone. It reeks of trying too hard to fit in with the cool kids.
But this election isn't about coolness: if it were, I think even the most superstitious of Democrats would be willing to call this one for Obama. In terms of hipness, there haven't been two more divergent candidates since Bill Clinton and Bob Dole in 1996.
And yet, relatability is a major issue. The entire interview feels like a parody: Romney's attempts at connecting with the common man over pop culture and snack food are as stilted and awkward as his perception of income.
Mitt's guilty pleasure? Peanut butter sandwiches and chocolate milk.
Ann Romney also earns bonus points for her answer to the "Do you keep up with the Kardashians?" question: "Who keeps up with the Kardashians? Who can keep up with the Kardashians?" That is not an answer so much as a deflection. And here it actually would have been OK to say, "No, I don't give a crap." Hating the Kardashians is acceptable: cool people do it all the time.
The rest of the interview isn't quite as cringeworthy — except the bit about Ann Romney seeing George W. Bush getting a massage — but it all feels a little like satire. The Washington Post's Alexandra Petri points out that Romney's invocation of Gene Hackman in The Birdcage seems to reflect a complete misunderstanding of what The Birdcage was about.
Presidential candidates — they're just like us, except somehow even lamer.
[Image via AP]