Is “Moderate Mitt” a Myth?

Yesterday Bill Clinton mocked the less conservative, more measured version of Mitt Romney who showed up at Wednesday’s debate with a new nickname. “I thought, ‘Wow, here’s old Moderate Mitt. Where ya been, boy? I missed ya all these last two years.'”

It’s true that Romney took a deliberately more moderate tone on Wednesday. But did he really seem more moderate to the average voter watching the debate? John Sides brings the data and says no: The circled dots on the chart below indicate public perception of Romney before and after the debate, and they show no difference. If he won the debate, it was due more to energy and focus than to the emergence of Romney 3.0. More at the link.


The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.