Mike Rowe didn’t endorse Mitt Romney, but will probably vote for him

Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe appeared with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney two weeks ago, says that wasn’t an endorsement–but he will likely vote for Romney anyway.

The event was a campaign appearance billed as a roundtable with people involved with manufacturing jobs, and before it, the Romney campaign announced that Rowe would endorse Romney, unbeknownst to Rowe, who asked them to correct that.

Mitt Romney did, introducing Rowe by saying he does “really ugly, dirty jobs–like standing with a politician.” (Funny!) Romney added, “He’s not here to endorse me, he’s not here to add support to one campaign or another. He’s here to talk about his ideas … and I’m here to listen to him.”

In his speech, Rowe said that Romney “answered a letter that I’ve written to a lot of people” because “I personally and honestly believe that we have unintentionally disconnected ourselves in a really fundamental way from the most important part of our workforce.” He then launched into his description of his Discovery Channel series, Dirty Jobs, which exists to celebrate those who work critical, tough jobs that most of us don’t know about.

Despite Romney’s very clear disclaimer at the event (watch it in full below, rather than the truncated version Buzzfeed published), the campaign’s announcement that Rowe endorsed the Republican has stuck. Mike Rowe told The Daily Beast that “was awkward. I truly was anticipating a roundtable. In my head, I saw it as Charlie Rose, right? And I’m going to sit down with a bunch of enlightened visionaries and local business leaders, and have a serious conversation. … What do they say–all failures are communication failures? I don’t know who said what to whom, I just know that once the ‘endorsement’ word popped up, you can’t really get the shit back in the goose.”

He also said, “I don’t need to be out there on one side or the other. It’s such a hyper-real time that we’re in right now, and there’s such an anxiousness to put people in one camp or the other that it’s really impossible to talk objectively about an issue without being defined in large capital letters. I get why it happens. I just didn’t see it until it was right in front of me.”

Despite that excellent analysis, and despite the goose shit, The Daily Beast reports–though does not quote Rowe directly–that “Rowe, a registered independent, expects that he’ll be voting for the former Massachusetts governor.”

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.