The Spectacle Blog

Romney’s Video Problem

By on 1.4.07 | 2:44PM

Less than a day after filing papers to launch his exploratory committee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's supporters appear to be getting him in hot water.

"Exhibit A" is a letter and packet of materials we received over the Christmas holiday from one Mark Chapin Johnson, a Southern California Republican and supporter of Romney.

Dated December 22, 2006/>, the Johnson packet included a DVD of an hour-long CSPAN interview with Romney. 

“I don’t know what Mitt may choose to do in the future,” Johnson writes rather disingenuously. “Speculation is rife and rampant, but I do know that he is an exceptional man with tremendous integrity and remarkable critical thinking skills.”

Apparently, those thinking skills don’t go so far as to ensure that when one’s supporters mail out thousands of DVDs, you have permission to do so from the original source.

It doesn’t appear from any the materials that reproduction of the interview was every cleared with CSPAN.

According to CSPAN sources, attorneys for the cable operation are looking into the matter.

Just as interesting as how the DVD was produced is the source of the DVD.

Johnson is the CEO of a large, family-owned medical equipment company based in Anaheim/>/>.  He’s a well known supporter of such GOP luminaries as former Rep. Chris Cox.  While he is a fiscal conservative of the first stripe, his position on social issues is a little less clear. He’s been identified in the past as a “pro-abortion Republican.”

In fact, given that Romney has so clearly flip-flopped on abortion and other life issues over the years, it’s surprising that he would associate himself so closely with a supporter well known in California/>/> political circles for trying to push the Republican Party to the center on abortion and other social issues.

Back in 2001, when Cox was mulling retirement, Johnson's name was in play as possible candidate, and he was consistently identified as a "moderate."

“This is just one more thing Romney has to explain to conservatives, and it’s just one more question Reagan Republicans needs to be asking Romney when they get the chance,” says a conservative Washington/>/> political consultant.  “Johnson is a solid Republican, and he’s done some great things for the party in California/>/> and across the country. But if you’re trying to persuade pro-life or social conservatives that you’re one of them, this is just kind of a head-scratcher.”

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