Mitt Romney tried to distance himself from the elite horse-dancing sport of dressage on Wednesday night, telling NBC’s Brian Williams that he doesn’t know anything about it – and doesn’t plan to watch his wife’s horse compete in the upcoming Olympics.
“It’s a big, exciting experience for my wife. I have to tell you, this is Ann’s sport,” Romney said. “I’m not even sure which day the sport goes on. She will get the chance to see it, I will not be watching the event. I hope her horse does well.”
“But just the honor of being here and representing our country and seeing the other Olympians is … something which I’m sure the people that are associated with this are looking forward to,” he added.
Romney’s coolness towards dressage is certainly a new development. The presumptive Republican nominee has talked extensively about his love of horses, and he has been deeply involved with his wife’s Olympic contender, Rafalca, in the past. The Romneys have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the horse, and Mitt himself personally picked the music that Rafalca “danced” to at the World Cup.
Even if he couldn’t attend, it would be odd for a supposed family man — and Olympic enthusiast — to be unaware of what day his wife’s horse is competing.
While it’s possible that Romney has suddenly sworn off dressage, it seems more likely that this is simply campaign posturing. Given all of the mysteries surrounding Romney’s tremendous fortune, he probably doesn’t want to be too closely associated with an ultra-expensive hobby like “horse ballet.”
If cheering Rafalca on in person could repair some of the damage that Romney’s done in Britain so far, however, perhaps he should consider awkwardly grinning and bearing it.
Romney’s full interview with Brian Williams can be seen here.