Governor Romney paid tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. when speaking to a group of employees at Gate Petroleum today and then shook hands and posed for photos with African-American families at a parade... He jumped off the Mitt Mobile to greet a waiting crowd, took a picture with some kids and young adults and awkwardly quipped, 'Who let the dogs out? Who who.' He took pictures with many in the crowd and greeted one baby wearing a necklace saying, 'Hey buddy! How’s it going? What’s happening? You got some bling bling here!'"
That's right. Mitt Romney thinks all he needs to do to fit in and look natural in a black neighborhood is raise his hands and say "bling bling." Maybe that's racist, maybe it's not, but given that "Who let the dogs out?" is not exactly the most common phrase in the Mormon CEO's stump speeches, it's certainly inauthentic.
Even politically, I don't see how this is good strategy. A cultural stereotype... an out of character moment... a decades-old one-hit wonder... what's next, Mitt, dancing the Macarena to win the contested Latin vote of Texas and New Mexico? If a forced love of the Baha Men can balance out the effects of your economic policies on black voters, surely Los del Rio will make Hispanic folks forget about that Tancredo endorsement!
This is, of course, the reason for my long-standing distaste for Romney - I'm no Republican, but I respect anyone, liberal or conservative, who listens to their opponents and acts not on ideology but on fact and principle. Case in point, John McCain and Mike Huckabee. It may well be a political statement to say, "Mitt Romney is no Mike Huckabee," but only barely.
Update: Here's video of Romney asking, "Who let the dogs out?" The bling-bling quote is not part of this clip. It seems harmless enough when you watch, but I still think it speaks to his inauthenticness - Romney is clearly the out-of-touch parent who believes the kids think he's cool when he makes outdated pop culture references in an over excited tone of voice, and again, I don't see how that wins votes.