For decades Republican presidential candidates having been heading to the racetrack to lockdown the “NASCAR dad” vote, but Mitt Romney’s pandering at the Daytona 500 on Sunday may have backfired.
A reporter from The Associated Press casually asked the candidate if he followed the sport.
“Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans,” Romney said. “But I have some friends who are NASCAR team owners.”
Democratic Party Communications Director Brad Woodhouse wasted no time before mocking the former Bain Capital CEO.
“I don’t know people who fish but I know people who own yachts,” he tweeted.
Romney had also crashed and burned on Friday while attempting to use his love for cars to appeal to average Americans.
“I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck,” he told the Detroit Economic Club. “Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually. And I used to have a Dodge truck. So, I used to have all three covered.”
Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday asked Romney, who has a net worth around $250 million, if he understood why “some voters would be put off by those things.”
“You know, I can’t be perfect,” Romney replied. “I just am who I am.”
“So, that’s just the way it is,” he added. “If people think there is something wrong with being successful in America then they better vote for the other guy because I’ve been extraordinarily successful.”
Scarborough Research found in 2009 that about 85 percent of NASCAR fans (PDF) made less than $100,000 a year.
On Saturday, Ann Romney told the conservative group Americans for Prosperity that she should be doing the talking for her husband in the future.
“If we’re going to do another debate, he’s going to just sit in the audience and watch me,” she said.
After the couple released their tax returns earlier this year, the candidate’s wife lamented that “unfortunately” the world now knows how “successful in business” her husband had been.
Watch this video NBC’s Today Show, broadcast Feb. 27, 2012.