There was a period, starting right around the Olympics and lasting until the first debate, when every day seemed to present some new example of Romney's complete ineptitude as a presidential candidate.
My favorite stretch was that trip overseas where the London Olympics insult gave way to the anti-Palestinian remarks in Israel only to be capped off by the hilarious "Kiss my ass, this is a holy site" remarks (by a spokesman) in Poland.
We had Andrea Saul claiming that Joe Soptic's wife would have been better off if she'd lived in Massachusetts (remember all the right-wing hand-wringing over that one?) and of course Clint Eastwood and the empty chair bumping Romney's nomination video out of prime time.
Then you had the two big ones -- events I personally feel should disqualify Romney from consideration (though 45% of the country appears to disagree): The 47% tape and the knee-jerk response to the Benghazi attacks.
But after the first debate, Romney seemed to get things in order. Whether it was a renewed sense of confidence or just the end of a string of bad luck, the unforced errors dried up. The campaign took on a different feel.
But things have changed again... and I trace it back to another Benghazi moment: the devastating blow Romney took in the second debate during his misguided attempt to catch President Obama in a lie. And even before that "please proceed" moment, he was dressed down by Obama like a naught schoolboy.
I think that moment shook him. It shook him into a pathetic performance in the third debate (much worse than Obama's in the first debate), and it has shaken his whole campaign back into the stumbling, bumbling mess it was a few months ago.
In the past week we've seen:
- Mourdock's rape comments on the heels of Romney cutting an ad for the Indiana Senate candidate, followed by Romney's refusal to a) withdraw his support, or b) comment on the matter to the press.
- Romney surrogate John Sununu characterizing Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama as race-based, effectively keeping the great news (for Obama) of that endorsement in the headlines for another day.
- Romney mislead Ohio voters about Chrysler moving Jeep production to China (prompting a reprimand from Chrysler itself)
- Romney backer Donald Trump's asinine $5 million offer, which made him look like more of a fool (if that was possible) and gave Obama an opening for a hilarious, winning comeback on the Tonight Show
- Meat Loaf's disastrous rendition of 'America the Beautiful' -- contrast that with Bruce Springsteen on the stump for Obama (and Katy Perry headlining his recent stop in Vegas)
And I suspect there is more to come.
These guys are shaken, and they're back in pre-debate mode... at the very worst time it could possibly happen.