As the Romney campaign suffers in the polls and struggles to counter the infamous the video of their candidate seemingly deriding 47 percent of the electorate, Republican candidates across the country are backing away from their presidential nominee. The latest evacuee: Romney's campaign co-chair, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who quit the campaign to join a Wall Street lobbying firm. Ohio's Republican governor Jon Kasich also distanced himself, saying he disagreed with Romney's "47 percent" comments, then qualifying his disagreement by saying, "We all have misspoken."
"They're jumping ship," said MSNBC's Ed Schultz on Thursday's The Ed Show. "They've had enough."
Pawlenty and Kasich were hardly alone. Hawaii Senate candidate Linda Lingle recently emphasized that she is not "a rubber stamp for the national party," and that she cannot be held responsible for Romney's statements. Even arch-conservative George Allen, running for Senate in Virginia, said on Thursday night that he had his "own point of view on the subject." His view is that "the people of America still believe in the American dream."
The latest ship-jumpers join a host of other Republican critics of Romney's "47 percent" remark. On Wednesday night's Hardball, even Republican strategist John Feehery conceded that Romney's secretly recorded speech was hugely problematic. "If you're running for president, you have to get as many votes as you can. A lot of those in the 47 percent are people who want to vote for Mitt Romney," he said.