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MSNBC twists truth to invent Romney ‘gaffe’

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MSNBC carefully clipped a Mitt Romney campaign stop comment on Monday, making it appear that the presumptive GOP nominee was a kind of wealthy bubble boy, out of touch with current consumer technology.

The alleged gaffe gained traction from his detractors, but also generated push back from honest brokers, including Margaret Hartman at New York Magazine, who observed "He's so corny and out of touch! Except, the full three-minute clip shows that Romney was actually describing his Wawa (Mid-Atlantic chain of fast-food restaurants) outing as part of a metaphor about government bureaucracy. The guy may be rich, but he's ordered a sandwich before."

While defending Romney on the technological front, Hartman did note that he seemed a bit out of touch with local culinary norms. "He repeatedly referred to the chain as 'Wawa's,' not 'Wawa,' and used the (unimpressive) touchscreen to order a meatball hero with pickles and sweet peppers rather than a classic hoagie," she wrote.

Dylan Byers at Politico also called out MSNBC: "The MSNBC clip feeds into the narrative, beloved by some on the left, that Romney is a 1950s throwback. After the clip cut, (Andrea) Mitchell and MSNBC contributor Chris Cillizza broke out into laughter — which is understandable, given that they both had been led to believe that Romney was wowed by a simple machine. In fact, what Romney found so 'amazing' was the discord between private sector innovation and public sector bureaucracy."

Byers said MSNBC is "looking into the matter."

Some commentators apparently did not get the memo, including Tommy Christopher at Mediate, who relays the MSNBC spin straight up. "I guess what I’m saying is that Romney already has a well-earned reputation as an out-of-touch rich guy, so this doesn’t figure to change much in that regard, but his sincere delight at the sammy-making process is funny and humanizing," Christopher wrote.

The MSNBC spin couching Romney as out of touch is especially ironic, given that he was actually contrasting the aggressive innovation of the private sector to the stodginess of a federal government that lacks competitive pressures.

Eric Schulzke writes on national politics for the Deseret News. He can be contacted at eschulzke@desnews.com.