Newsweek’s cover this week is making headlines for proposing Mitt Romney suffers from “the wimp factor,” and asking if Mitt Romney is “just too insecure to be president.” (Of course, all this exists below the top of the cover which reads, “What Triggers Mass Murderers,” certainly no help either.)
“Is Mitt Romney a wimp?,” Newsweek asks on Tumblr. “That’s our cover this week, which asks if the former Massachusetts governor—who’s dodging the press, hiding his tax returns, and fearing the base—is too insecure to be president.”
In 1987, Newsweek pulled the same thing on then-presidential candidate George H.W. Bush, who went on to become president — albeit for just one term.
“If I worried about what the media said I wouldn’t get much sleep, and I sleep pretty well,” Romney told CBS News today in Jerusalem:
“They tried that on George Herbert Walker Bush. He was a pretty great president and anything but,” Romney said, adding that he doesn’t “recall” ever being called a wimp before.
As far as the ’87 Bush cover, Newsweek notes:
The Bush family was furious about this NEWSWEEK profile, which ran the week George H.W. Bush announced his candidacy for president. And who could blame them? The cover line suggested that the then–vice president was a wimp—a strange charge about a man who narrowly escaped a strafed Navy bomber in World War II and took a daring little-noticed trip to meet with gun-toting Salvadoran military commanders during the Reagan years. Barbara Bush placed a furious call to her son, future president George W., who had vetted journalist Margaret Garrard Warner. “Have you seen NEWSWEEK?” Barbara Bush growled, according to her son’s recent memoir, Decision Points. “I quickly tracked down a copy and was greeted by the screaming headline: ‘Fighting the Wimp Factor,’ ” Bush 43 wrote. “I was red hot. I got Margaret on the phone. I . . . told her I thought it was part of a political ambush. She muttered something about her editors being responsible for the cover. I did not mutter. I railed about editors and hung up. From then on, I was suspicious of political journalists and their unseen editors.”
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