Buddy Roemer Won't Bow, Don't Know How

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 7 2012 5:19 PM

Buddy Roemer Won't Bow, Don't Know How

MANCHESTER -- It was a stunt, and a well-executed one. Buddy Roemer announced late on Friday that he'd make "an announcement" about his campaign. "An announcement" is typically, responsibly translated as "I'm getting the hell out of this." But for the second time in a week, after Rick Perry's "assessment," a candidate's big announcement was that he had no announcement.

The body language and the setting made this a surprise. For maximum media coverage, Roemer scheduled the event in the breakfast room of the Radisson in downtown Manchester, where everyone in the Fourth Estate who knows how to book a hotel early ends up. An Americans Elect bus was parked outside -- hint, hint, maybe he'd switch parties. Roemer entered the room, trailed by one camera, holding a typed-out speech and looking defeated. He spoke in the past tense as his supporters -- where had these people been? -- held man-sized "BUDDY" signs. Past tense, past tense, past tense, then:

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"I have decided NOT to suspend my campaign!"

It was a stunt, so nothing changed. Roemer will continue to not get invited into debates, unless he surges in national polls. The only quasi-news came when a representative from Americans Elect asked Roemer about his plans to seek their nomination.

"It's an option," he said. This was practically a blow-off, but it had to be. Roemer's reason for staying in the race: Drawing attention to a broken campaign finance system. Americans Elect exists because people who want to give lots of money to a third party shell organization have done so, anonymously.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.