Team Romney’s Big Kiss-Off

 Team Romneys Big Kiss Off

The PR Verdict: C (Distinctly OK) for Romney spokesperson Rick Gorka.

Rick Gorka, mind your manners. Gorka, Mitt Romney’s press spokesperson, is in the news for losing his temper on Romney’s already rather problematic foreign tour. Having generated negative headlines in the UK and in the Middle East, the Romney campaign now finds itself in the media spotlight again because Gorka, its spokesperson, told journalists to “kiss [his] a**” and “shove it.” Now, is that any way to behave–especially for a spokesperson?

On the other hand, who can blame him? This tour has not been the most wildly successful of trips. Gorka’s not-so-friendly advice to the press corps came after journalists fired questions from behind a rope. Reporters from the New York Times, CNN, and yelled questions about Romney’s European gaffes, wanting Mitt to respond. Gorka, on his last nerve, told them exactly how he felt.

The media went wild, Mitt looked embarrassed, and Gorka made personal apologies to the journalists concerned the next day. Any harm done? Hard to say. Everyone has an off day, and if Gorka has media relationships worth anything, one might hope this will be forgiven. What seems the bigger issue is the media’s complaint about access to Mitt himself, and that might be worth a rethink.

The PR Verdict: “C” (Distinctly OK) for Rick Gorka. At least he said “sorry” quickly and turned the page, but is there a wider issue at play?

The PR Takeaway: Apologizing is the easy part. The persistent complaint from the media is that Romney has simply been unavailable for much of his grand tour. In this latest blowup, the journalist yelled at Gorka, “We haven’t had another chance to ask a question!” Since Romney’s tax issues put his PR team on alert, the media have been complaining about restricted access. Romney did not address members of the press flying with him on any of the three charter flights–two that lasted more than four hours. One sure way to annoy the media? Ignore them. And for that, Gorka may be apologizing for some time to come.

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What is Your PR Verdict?

  1. Paul Lockstone says:

    How on earth can this rate as ‘Distinctly OK’?! Fair enough for someone who doesn’t make a living managing the media but surely someone who earns their daily bread doing this stuff on a day to day basis has to be held to a far higher standard. And if the media is unhappy with the way they’ve been treated on this trip isn’t that also down to the communications team and their management of the candidate?

    Isn’t this a case of physician heal thyself…?

  2. If American and/or foreign reporters had yelled questions near an American iconic site, the yells and screams of the press would be heard around the world. Americans have a totally disproportionate
    view of how to behave in other countries and national sites and memorials. Try that at the US Unknown in Arlington and see how the media reacts.

    Romney will now until after the election be dammed if he does and dammed if he doesn’t. He can’t please everyone all the time, nor should he try. But, he should spend some time during these summer days to hone down on his public persona, because the current one doesn’t work. He’s too stiff, comes off as inarticulate, is always explaining away his own gaffes or someone else’s. Let him go back to Media Boot Camp 101, 24/7, and learn some skills…


  1. says:

    Team Romney’s Big Kiss-Off…

    The PR Verdict: “C” (Distinctly OK) for Rick Gorka. At least he said “sorry” quickly and turned the page, but is there a wider issue at play?…

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