Romney’s Rafalca: ‘Dancing Around the Issues,’ Pushing Boundaries?

Photograph by Brian Cahn/Zuma Press/Corbis

Ann Romney nimbly avoids her horse Rafalca during a photo op at the National Grand Prix Dressage Championship at the United States Equestrian Federation Festival of Champions.

There are TV ads, and there are videos.

The TV ads are broadcast, or relayed by cable networks, to millions of Americans in battleground states, all aimed at influencing public opinion about the presidential election contest.

The videos are rolled out on the Internet for select consumption and dissemination– and for attention such as this, the stuff of Tweets and Re-Tweets.

It remains to be seen whether the Democratic National Committee will be ready for prime-time with the sort of parody featured in its newest Web-video about Republican Mitt Romney — this one featuring clips from the fine art of dressage which Romney’s wife Ann practices. It’s billed as the first in a series.

It plays on the presumptive presidential nominee’s Olympic contender, “Rafalca,” as it portrays Romney “dancing around the issues” of his tax returns. Yet is also plays on the horse in a sport which his wife embraced as therapy for her multiple sclerosis.

(Romney’s own horse, a Missouri Fox Trotter, is “like a quarter horse, but just a much better gait,” Romney once told Sean Hannity of Fox News.)


It’s another way of pressing an issue that Republicans and Democrats alike have pressed Romney on. It’s also a political play on the 1 percent, sort of a Comedy Central take on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (Stephen Colbert actually beat the Democrats to Rafalca.)

The video replays the primaries. Will he release his tax records, Romney was asked during one of the primary election debates sponsored by Fox News? “If that’s been the tradition,” he said then, “I ‘m not opposed to doing that, time will tell, I anticipate that most likely I will be asked to do that around the April time period, I’ll keep that open.”

Would he release 12 years of returns, as his father, George Romney, did when he ran for president in 1968?

“Maybe,” he replied with a nervous laugh at another debate sponsored by CNN.

He has released just one return, for 2010, and promises another, for 2011 — a fact which the Obama campaign and Democrats are spending plenty of money on in actual TV ads. Texas Governor Rick Perry is among the latest of Romney’s own party to join the chorus.

And why does he have a Swiss bank account, this video asks.

“The money that I have is managed by a blind trust. I don’t manage the money that I have,” Romney is shown saying, in a production ending with the question: “Do we really want a president who dances around the issues?”

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