Smelling the blood emanating from Ron Paul's Pamphletgate Redux, Mitt Romney is closing in on the Good Doctor's lead in Iowa one week from the primary. In addition to his $1.1 million ad buy, Romney's bringing out the biggest gun in his arsenal to seal the deal: New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who will be appearing on radio shows and perhaps even at stump speeches. But will that be enough to paper over the fact that Mitt Romney is a cyborg created by a race of lightly salted water crackers from the planet Carrdon, sent here to study and infiltrate the human race? Consider the evidence.

The Times' Ashley Parker and Michael Barbaro spend enough time around Romney campaigning to pick up on his interactions with voters. His familial sensors seem to be damaged, or ill-programmed.

For a candidate who is exceedingly risk-averse, Mr. Romney has developed an unlikely penchant for trying to puzzle out everything from voters’ personal relationships to their ancestral homelands.

“Sisters?” he asked. (Nope, stepmother and stepdaughter.) “Your husband?” he wondered. (No, just a friend from the neighborhood.) “Mother and daughter?” he guessed. (Cousins, actually.)

The results can be awkward. “Daughter?” he asked a woman sitting with a man and two younger girls at the diner in Tilton, N.H., on Friday morning. Her face turned a shade of red. “Wife.”

Oh, Mr. Romney said. “It was a compliment, I guess,” said the woman, Janelle Batchelder, 31. “At the same time, it was possibly an insult.”

There's also the fascination with the English word, "Congratulations."

Mr. Romney likes to congratulate people. For what, exactly, is not always clear.

“Congratulations,” he told a grandmother at an event on Thursday night, presumably because she had a large brood.

Over three consecutive days last week, he congratulated a girl who said she was attending college, a woman who said she owned a small business and a mother who said she was going back to school. “Congratulations!” he exclaimed upon learning that a woman had three children.

And Romney's interface has yet to master emoting what humans call "gratitude."

In Bedford, N.H., he turned to find a man who proudly told him, “You already have my vote.” It was the kind of comment that might normally elicit an expression of gratitude, or an inquiry into the voter’s background.

Mr. Romney replied, “Well, that’s good.”

In fairness, Romney may not have been able to update his vocabulary software in the last month or so, due to a violent meteor shower that destroyed several satellites orbiting Carrdon, but he's going to need a lot more than "good" against Barry. Here's a video of Romney taken before his circuits were properly tweaked.