Four years ago, shortly before the presidential campaign, John McCain was participating in a town-hall forum, and heard from a voter who wanted to share a concern. "I can't trust Obama," she said. "I have read about him and he's not, he's not uh, he's an Arab."
The Republican nominee, to his credit, took back the microphone and said, "No, ma'am. He's a decent family man [and] a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign's all about. He's not [an Arab]."
Mitt Romney in 2012 is a very different kind of candidate, and we were reminded of that this afternoon.
For those who can't watch clips online, the presumptive Republican nominee held an event in Ohio today, and heard from a woman who thinks President Obama "should be tried for treason."
It was an opportunity for the former governor to show some leadership -- as McCain did in October 2008 -- and reject this garbage publicly. But true to form, Romney responded to the voter's question as if he didn't have a problem with her ridiculous rhetoric.
Later, after the Q&A was over, Romney was pressed by reporters on whether he agreed with his supporter's "treason" line. He said, "No, of course not."
That's nice, I suppose, but having courage after the fact isn't the quite the same thing as showing some guts when the moment calls for it.
It's not the first time Romney shrank when confronted with an opportunity to lead, and I have a strong suspicion it won't be the last.