Like it or not, challenging mainstream media interviews are part of the presidential vetting process. This year, Sunday morning hosts and other MSM inquisitors have tripped up several prominent Republicans running for president -- including Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. Conspicuously absent from that list: Mitt Romney, and not because he's disciplined, prepared, and informed (though he's arguably all of those things). Romney hasn't committed an error on a Sunday morning chat show recently because...he hasn't appeared on any of them since March of last year. Fox anchor Chris Wallace pointedly mentioned this fact as he wrapped up a discussion with Texas Governor Rick Perry on yesterday's edition of Fox News Sunday:
"We invited Governor Romney again this week, but his campaign says he's still not ready to sit down for an interview."
Few doubt that Romney is capable of answering tough questions, as he's performed well in almost every GOP debate to date. Part of his success in the debate settings, though, could be attributable to the format. Rarely are candidates consistently pressed on a single question (like, say, Romneycare) because moderators and fellow candidates don't typically have the time to really drill down. Sunday morning talk shows are a horse of a different color. The Romney campaign has been very circumspect in their decision making, which is generally a positive quality -- but they, like their candidate, occasionally cross into the realm of overt risk avoidance. This dance is unsustainable. Romney cannot, and will not, secure the GOP nomination by default; he needs to convince Republican voters that he is the best man for the job. That persuasion process involves stepping into the arena and facing the heat. It's time, Governor.