The Gabfest on the Remaking of Romney at the GOP Convention

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
Aug. 24 2012 1:41 PM

The Legitimate/Forcible Gabfest

Listen to Slate's show about the GOP Convention and a Romney reboot, the Akin aftermath, and the Ferguson-Krugman contretemps.


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On this week’s Slate Political Gabfest, John Dickerson, David Plotz, and special guest Hanna Rosin discuss Mitt Romney's reboot and the upcoming Republican National Convention, the Todd Akin aftermath, and the contretemps between Niall Ferguson and his liberal critics, including Paul Krugman and James Fallows.

Event: David will interview – or interrogate – his wife, DoubleX co-founder Hanna Rosin, about her new book, The End of Men, on Sept. 11 in Washington (tickets here) and on Sept. 12 in New York (details here).

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during this week's show:

  • John gives two examples of convention speeches that mattered, even after the pageant wrapped: Barack Obama’s speech in 2004 and Pat Buchanan’s speech in 1992. The Washington Post outlines five myths about conventions.
  • Hanna and David talk about the plan to humanize Romney and some accompanying stagecraft. The New York Times has an overview.
  • John says Bill Clinton is the role model for efforts to reintroduce Romney; Clinton had a record 16-point increase in support after the 1992 Democratic Convention, according to Gallup.
  • John talks about the polling of American attitudes on Mormonism. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has a full report, “Mormons in America.”
  • Slate’s Josh Voorhees reports on the GOP platform’s abortion plank. Former Gabfest intern Aviva Shen summarizes other platform highlights.
  • Hanna identifies Dr. John Willke as the mind behind Akin’s medical theories on legitimate and forcible rape. The Daily Beast’s Abigail Pesta has more on Willke.
  • David cites data from a Washington Post article about the percentage of people from a variety of demographics who reject the right to abortion in cases of rape.
  • David references Ezra Klein’s observation that today’s political media nationalizes all scandals. Elizabeth Warren’s new ad is part of the Akin fallout, says Time’s Swampland.
  • Harvard professor Niall Ferguson’s Newsweek cover story, “Hit the Road, Barack.
  • In addition to Paul Krugman, David notes other writers who have joined the anti-Ferguson pile-on; try James Fallows, Mark Thoma, Dylan Byers, Matthew O’Brien, and Slate’s David Weigel.

David chatters about Richard Posner’s thoughts on leisure.

Hanna chatters about a sting story on This American Life.

John chatters about a Kaiser Foundation study on the dimensions of partisanship.

Topic ideas for next week? You can tweet suggestions, links, and questions to @SlateGabfest.

The email address for the Political Gabfest is (Email may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Podcast production by Mike Vuolo. Links compiled by Jeff Friedrich.

David Plotz is Slate's editor at large. He's the author of The Genius Factory and Good Book.

John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent and author of On Her Trail. Read his series on the presidency and on risk.

Hanna Rosin is the founder of DoubleX and a writer for the Atlantic. She is also the author of The End of Men. Follow her on Twitter.



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