As we saw during his quest to secure the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney does two things that he apparently hopes will ingratiate himself to voters. One is flat-out pandering. The other is waxing amazed at whatever he just saw or whomever he has just met, as if he were a traveler in a strange and distant land.
I first commented on this after Romney's failed attempt to curry favor with Mississippi voters in March, when he said - with a little Dixie inflection in his voice - "Mornin', y'all. I got started right this morning with a biscuit and some cheesy grits."
My take? "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on safari in his own country."
That came less than a month after his spectacular pander in his home state of Michigan. You'd think the son of a thrice-elected governor wouldn't have to resort to this sort of thing.
"I love this state. It seems right here. Trees are the right height. . . . I like seeing the lakes. I love the lakes. . . . I love cars."
At an event in Fort Worth two weeks ago, Romney went on and on about a tall man he met.
"I met a guy yesterday, seven feet tall. Yeah, handsome, great big guy. Seven feet tall! . . . He started a business.. . . I mean I figured he had to be in sport. But he wasn't in sport."
This weekend, Romney added to his parade of wonder with this beauty after visiting a well-known convenience-store chain in Pennsylvania:
"Where do you get your hoagies here? Do you get them at Wawa's? Is that where you get them?. . .
"Well, I went to a place today called Wawa's. You ever been to Wawa's? Anybody been there? Some people don't like . . . I know, I'm sorry. It's a big state divide. But we went to Wawa's . . .
"I was at a Wawa's. I went to order a sandwich. You press a little touch-tone key pad. . . . You touch this, touch this, touch this, go pay the cashier and there's your sandwich. It's amazing!"
What's amazing is that Romney is seeking to lead a nation he appears to be visiting for the very first time. Pity he won't settle for a T-shirt instead of the presidency as his souvenir.
Jonathan Capehart is a member of The Washington Post's editorial page staff.