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Clinging to detail-free campaigning

Politico reported this week that Mitt Romney's campaign advisers believe "diving into details during a general-election race would be suicidal." The line continues to ring true.

Mitt Romney started to lay out his energy plan at a Tuesday event, but because there were reporters in the room, he decided against doing so.

During a Houston fundraiser, Romney told a room of about 125 donors that he planned to unveil his comprehensive energy plan this week. He said his proposal will specifically relate to fossil-based fuels. But then, he said no more.

"I know that we have members of the media here right now, so I'm not going to go through that in great detail," Romney said, according to a pool report from the event.

I've never heard rhetoric like this from a national candidate before. Romney wants to talk about energy policy, voters care about energy policy, he has detailed energy policy plans in mind, but he'll bite his tongue because he's afraid journalists will tell the public about what he'd do if elected.

If Romney has an energy plan, and there are reporters around who'll convey the information to the electorate, shouldn't Romney want to go into detail? If he's interested in a substantive campaign -- and he insists that he is -- doesn't he have this backwards?

As we've discussed before, this isn't a new development for Romney. He explained to a conservative magazine in April that when he told voters his specific plans in previous campaigns, voters didn't agree with the specifics and it undermined his ambitions.

Voters should just trust him, vote him into office, and then Romney will let us know what he has in mind. Everyone loves surprises, right?

Of course, what does it say about the merit of Romney's policy agenda if voters are likely to recoil if they heard the whole truth?