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I think it grabs us because Mitt was all mask, and we knew it. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking of the smile he had plastered on his face during the first debate, unchanging no matter what was going on behind it. It made him strangely mysterious. We thought we had a glimpse of the 'true Mitt' when the 47% video was released, but then... maybe he was just playing to his donors, wearing his 'rich republican' mask. So now in these photos we get the 'real' Mitt. They have the feel of the scene at the end of the Wizard of Oz, when the curtain is pulled back and the Wizard turns out to be a little guy, pulling some levers.
This never happened with other losing candidates, because none of them were as substance-free as Mitt Romney. The amazing thing is that it nearly worked.