Nor was 7-Eleven fazed for long. Not to be outdone, the convenience store giant put out a statement explaining that actually, they did offer fresh, high quality baked goods and that therefore Romney had been quite correct in asserting that Walsh’s delectable cookies could have come from one of their stores.
Turning bad publicity into good is, of course, nothing new: just ask Charlie Sheen, and the brands currently benefiting from his presence in their TV commercials. Or out-gay comedienne, talk show host and freshly minted JC Penney spokesperson Ellen DeGeneres, who invoked the wrath of pro-family group One Million Moms, which threatened a boycott of the store, then dropped it after receiving a deluge of comments on its Facebook page from women stating that although they hadn’t shopped at JC Penney before, they would be shopping there now.
And that’s just business. Politicians are also just as capable of digging themselves out of the deepest of holes — and then building palaces on the resulting piles of dirt. Think of Ronald Reagan, the “Teflon president”; or that most epic piece of bad publicity turnabout, the Lewinsky scandal.
This particular storm in a biscotti-dunkable teacup is unlikely to do much damage to Romney in the grander scheme of things, although he can be certain that it will come back to haunt him many times between now and November — at least it will if Democratic strategists have been paying any attention, which they have been. On the contrary, it might very well, as we have seen, help him. John Walsh says he still supports Romney, and would love him to come back and try the cookies he spurned. If it accepts Walsh’s invitation, and times the return visit right, the Romney campaign has a potential public relations goldmine right there.
We shall see. For now I must leave you, dear reader, to ponder this shining illustration of small and big business cleverness in adversity, while I go and find some lunch. Unlike Mitt Romney, I have just a little bit of an appetite. Oh, and there’s a 7-Eleven just down the street.