A top-secret 77-slide PowerPoint briefing prepared by Mitt Romney's presidential campaign staff has leaked to the Boston Globe. The document outlines Romney's perceived vulnerabilities, specifically citing Romney's Mormonism and his Ken-doll haircut, and maps out Romney's message strategy against Republican nomination rivals John McCain ("uncertain, erratic, unreliable") and Rudy Giuliani (saddled with "personal political liabilities," an apparent reference to Giuliani's messy divorce from Donna Hanover). A loathing of France looms large as a campaign theme, and at one point the PowerPoint presentation bravely declares, "Hillary = France." Zut alors! Another designated bogeyman is the commonwealth of Massachusetts, a breathtaking act of ingratitude given that a mere five years ago Bay state voters elected this Michigan-bred phony to be their governor. Today's Hot Document is one particularly choice slide from the Romney campaign's PowerPoint briefing, obtained via the Globe. To view it, scroll down.
Romney's isn't the first piece of Maoist self-criticism to leak to the press in the current presidential election cycle. In January, the Daily News ran a story about a 140-page document it obtained that outlined Giuliani's battle plan and spelled out his perceived vulnerabilities (Giuliani's liberal positions on social issues, the aforementioned messy divorce, his chumminess with withdrawn Homeland Security nominee Bernard Kerik). One month later, Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice obtained yet another internal Giuliani document, this one a so-called "vulnerability study" from his 1993 campaign for New York City mayor, which cited, among other things, Giuliani's "weirdness factor." For choice excerpts from that self-laceration, click here.
Needless to say, Slate would welcome similar leaks from other presidential campaigns. Send them (or other choice documents) to email@example.com. Please indicate whether you wish to remain anonymous.
Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.