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Hall: Stop taking pictures of Mitt in La Jolla

Mitt and Anne Romney watch during the Manny Pacquiao - Juan Manuel Marquez fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Mitt and Anne Romney watch during the Manny Pacquiao - Juan Manuel Marquez fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. — K.C. Alfred / UT San Diego

Please stop posting online pictures of Mitt Romney in La Jolla. He lives here now. We get it.

Also, please follow me on Twitter at @SDuncovered. If I see Romney in the neighborhood, I’m totally posting a cell phone picture.

What I mean is: I get it. I get the allure. He was nearly president and now he’s our neighbor, our celebrity, for the foreseeable future, for the 47 percent and 53 percent alike. Look! He buys in bulk at Costco. OMG. He lets his well-coiffed hair down. Surely you’ve seen it by now.

In post-election images taken in La Jolla and Del Mar, the poor guy — as poor as a rich man with three houses in three states can be — looks more like a regular guy. There he is on TMZ, seeing “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2” and eating pizza with his wife on Nov. 17. On Reddit, pumping his own gas on Nov. 20. On YouTube, riding bikes with a son on Nov. 23. On Twitter, buying Honey Nut Cheerios at CVS on Nov. 26.

My honest question is: When will it stop? When will Romney’s every-day activities cease to be an every-minute social-media obsession?

I called a La Jollan who would know, Sam Popkin, the UCSD political scientist whose new book is “The Candidate: What It Takes to Win — and Hold — the White House.” His book studies every presidential campaign since 1948, including a handful of Democratic ones that he worked on.

Popkin agreed that he hasn’t seen anything like this, either, but his takeaway was actually the flipside of mine.

What struck me was that so many people are mapping Romney’s every move. What struck Popkin was that he’s moving so much, so soon — that he’s moving at all.

Honey Nut Cheerios? Romney could have bought an island, Popkin said.

“I can’t think of anybody who got to the grocery store so fast, back to ordinary life,” he said. “It speaks to how well he is grounded, how fast he came back to earth. I’m very impressed with his resilience.

“He didn’t buy privacy. It speaks well of the city and the community that nobody was heckling him. His neighbors put up gay pride flags, but nobody went by and put toilet paper on his house or anything. I give La Jolla a few points. I give his church and his family more points.”

Popkin repeatedly emphasized this point as we talked: that Romney’s Mormon faith and immediate family, both of which have large footprints in San Diego County, helped him get back on his feet this fast.

Indeed, Romney does look like a guy who’s turning the corner, any corner, whether that’s entering convenience stores and bike lanes and gas stations or exiting the unimaginable depression of missing out on being the world’s most powerful person.

That basically makes him “the biggest loser in the world,” Popkin said.


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