For the fourth consecutive year, President Barack Obama filled out his NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament brackets for the cameras at ESPN. Just don’t expect the front-runner for the GOP nomination to do the same.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who was campaigning in Missouri one day after losing primary battles in Alabama and Mississippi to former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, said, “I’m not plugged in well enough this year to do that.”
So how does this play out politically? In the past, Romney has been accused of lacking a common touch. So while admitting that he doesn’t keep up with college basketball might be truthful, would it have really killed him to mention that he might be pulling for his alma mater, Brigham Young University?
While BYU has never won a national championship in basketball, it certainly has a distinguished history in the tournament. It was in the 1981 tournament that BYU’s Danny Ainge drove the length of the floor with only 8 seconds left in the game to beat Notre Dame, 51-50. And just last night, BYU pulled off an incredible comeback, storming back from a 25-point deficit at one point to defeat Iona, 78-72.
I’m not going to pretend that a moment like this one is a make-or-break moment for any candidate. But I do think it’s obvious that there was an opportunity for Romney to score a point here, and give voters the impression that sometimes he can be a regular guy too.
Eric McErlain blogs at Off Wing Opinion, a Forbes “Best of the Web” winner. In 2006 he wrote a “bloggers bill of rights” to help integrate bloggers into the Washington Capitals’ press box. Eric has also written for Deadspin, NBC Sports and the Sporting News, and covers sports television for The TV News. Follow Eric on Twitter.