Toward a Deeper Understanding of Mitt Romney's Cookie Comment

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 19 2012 4:10 PM

Toward a Deeper Understanding of Mitt Romney's Cookie Comment

The die is cast: Everyone agrees that Mitt Romney insulted Bethel Bakery in Bethel Park, Penn. by joking about how their treats looked when they were put on the table for his latest "Look, Real Humans!" meet-and-greet. The bakery is offering "Cookiegate" deals. People, it writes itself.

But what if Romney wasn't insulting the bakery? What if -- Occam's razor -- he was telling a bad joke? Romney's got a yen for horrible jokes that no one else gets, and this certainly could have qualified. Examine the evidence.

Romney sits down and rubs his hands together, bristling with excitement. He sees the cookies. He's "not sure about them." He looks at one of the Real Americans who'd been brought there for lunch. "They don't look like you made them!" he says.

Then he tries to think of a follow-up.

Screen shot 2012-04-19 at 6.51.22 PM

"They came from the local, uh..."

"Bakery!" says the real American.

"7-Eleven bakery, or whatever," says Romney, inserting the first acceptable chain name that came to mind. He looks to see how the comment goes over.

Screen shot 2012-04-19 at 6.51.02 PM

Nobody laughs.

Screen shot 2012-04-19 at 6.52.59 PM

It's not his fault. He tried to snark that the pastries on the table looked too perfect to have been produced by human hands. A chip malfunctioned and he accidentally used the name of a bakery associated with horrible, processed foods.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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