Mitt Romney has been up and down on the trail — and that’s also true of his ubiquity on Fox News. Recently, he’s been a near-constant presence. Romney’s tour of the Fox News empire this week is the most time Romney’s done on a Fox News set in a week since Jan. 1.
In the week alone, Romney has appeared on Fox News six times, and he’s scheduled to appear on Fox News Sunday this weekend. The tone of the interviews has ranged from a bit uncomfortable to downright chummy.
But Romney’s focus on Fox is drawing some criticism.
“I don’t really know what they’re doing,” NBC’s Meet The Press host David Gregory said recently. “He is becoming a Fox News contributor apparently, in terms of his interviews over there trying to reach a conservative audience.”
Romney hasn’t appeared on Gregory’s show, despite repeated public invitations. Romney’s reportedly doing an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes soon, but he hasn’t given the other networks the same love as Fox.
Here’s a breakdown of Romney’s Fox appearances since Jan. 1:
Though Fox is generally considered a friendly venue for Republican candidates, Romney has faced some serious questioning this week. America Live host Megyn Kelly on Wednesday asked why Romney is making so many wealth-related gaffes, citing his references to football and NASCAR team owners. Romney still hasn’t found a solid answer to this critique, though there’s been a general “he’s rich, get over it” push from his surrogates lately.
But Romney’s answer to Kelly showed a continued inability to explain his wealth in a way that would endear him to the middle-class voters he is courting.
“Guess what? I’ve made a lot of money,” Romney said. “I’ve been very successful. I’m not going to apologize for that.”
Kelly didn’t let up, either. She presented Romney with an archival clip of him saying he supports national health care mandates. She did, however, put him out of his misery by cutting off his awkward self-defense spiel in order to go to a commercial break.
It was reminiscent of Romney’s pre-Iowa interview with Fox’s Bret Baier, in which an indignant Romney sputtered through and then complained about during and after the interview.
But not all Fox interviews are created equal, and that fact might provide insight into why Romney’s done so many of them lately. The day after his appearance with Kelly, Romney had an easier time when he sat down with Bill Hemmer.
“I feel relaxed, I’m here with you,” Romney told Hemmer. The Fox News host then laid out what Romney’s up against: high unemployment and rising gas prices under President Obama. “You’ve made my case for me,” Romney replied.
Hammering rising gas prices again, Romney told Sean Hannity on Thursday that Obama favors “alternative energy,” but he believes the real solution is an “alternative president.” After Hannity called it a “good line,” Romney used it again on Fox the next morning.
After losses in Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday, the Romney campaign appears to be taking a more proactive approach to pushing its message.
The Romney campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Watch a video compilation of Romney’s recent Fox interviews: