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2000 Olympics commemorative pin: Romney wrapped in American flag
Previous attempts to humanize Mitt Romney have rapidly devolved into being creepy.
With the Republican National Convention just 'round the corner, here's a look at the most herculean task to face the convention planners: How to design a stage that makes Mitt Romney look likable.
The campaign aides are determined to overcome perceptions that Mr. Romney is stiff, aloof and distant. So they have built one of the most intricate set pieces ever designed for a convention — a $2.5 million Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired theatrical stage. From its dark-wood finish to the brightly glowing high-resolution screens in the rafters that look like skylights, every aspect of the stage has been designed to convey warmth, approachability and openness.
I can't say for sure that $2.5 million is the most money ever spent on trying to make Mitt Romney appear likable—I expect not—but I am intrigued as to how dark wood frames around 13 variously sized high-def screens are going to suddenly going to make Mitt sound like a less awkward and more uproarious human being. It looks like they will be going for sort of a late-night talk show vibe, but it might turn out a little more Hollywood Squares in Hell. (If we're talking about good tips for making inanimate objects look lifelike, I was hoping they'd take some inspiration from Avenue Q.)
“Usually the convention is so straight and staid and symmetrical, even-Steven,” said Eddie Knasiak, one of the convention co-designers whose credits include projects for Ms. Winfrey, Martha Stewart and MTV. “We were conscious of trying to make it not seem grandiose. We wanted it to seem inclusive, warm. It’s not like anything you’ve seen at a convention before.”
Don't get your hopes up. The Republican version of MTV is still being keynoted by folks like Chris Christie, so there's a limit to just how hep these cats are going to get. Now you will have some elegant wood frames around your high definition screens and you will like it, mister. Nothing's more inclusive than Paul Ryan's planned 30-minute speech on how America is just too dumb to understand the budget numbers he's not laying down.
From the six-feet-high podium, staircases slope into the audience. The intended symbolism: Mr. Romney is open and approachable, not distant and far above.
If you actually try to walk up those stairs, though, the intended symbolism will be you getting tasered. On an unrelated note, the article also notes that there will be no booze served during the convention. This is likely not because of the anti-booze religious preferences of the nominee, and probably more likely an attempt to keep prominent convention speakers from going all Sea of Galilee during prime-time television coverage.

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