His buttoned down looks and demeanor, experience in business and government inspire confidence. He is a con-do guy. He has his own dough.
I have compiled some quotes and one article about him. He may be a front runner soon, or not, depending on your judgment.
Dont Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers? That was the question Mike Huckabee not-so-innocuously posed in the weeks before the Iowa caucuses in 2008.
The "don't mormons" quote is from the article below. I hope no one will start a thread about "The Huckster."
And now, here is Mitt Romney:
2006 I understand that my views on laws governing abortion set me in the minority in our Commonwealth. I am pro-life.
…the drug that theyre referring to not only is a contraceptive, but its also an abortive product. Individuals who have already become impregnated and that have a living embryo within them take this drug and ends the life of that embryo. So its not only a contraceptive, its abortive.
Source: Interview with Hugh Hewitt (July 2005)
*Explaining his decision to veto an emergency contraception bill.
"Like the vast majority of Americans, Ive opposed same-sex marriage, but Ive also opposed unjust discrimination against anyone, for racial or religious reasons, or for sexual preference. Americans are a tolerant, generous, and kind people. We all oppose bigotry and disparagement. But the debate over same-sex marriage is not a debate over tolerance. It is a debate about the purpose of the institution of marriage and it is a debate about activist judges who make up the law
I would like to see us, as a nation, bringing in fewer illegal immigrants.
. . . rather than interpret the law. "Illegal immigration has to end."
-Source: Radio Interview, The Mike Gallagher Show (January 2007)
Ronald Reagan is also my hero and a friend of all of ours…I believe that our partys ascendancy began with Ronald Reagans brand of visionary and courageous leadership.
Source: Speech in South Carolina (February 2005)
Our veterans know the meaning of service better than anyone else and they arent about to quit working when they come home. The best reward we can provide our vets for their service isnt a medal or a check; its a livelihood and a means of supporting themselves and their families.
Source: press release promoting Hire a Veteran month (November 2005)
2005 I think we ought to have more oil. We ought to develop more sources of oil so that we can increase our supply. But the last thing I want to do is suck it all dry as quickly as we can. I want use less of it.
Source: Interview on Hardball with Chris Matthews (December 2005);
The article from yesterdays news:
5 challenges for front-runner Romney
Jonathan Martin, Alexander Burns Jonathan Martin, Alexander Burns Tue Apr 12, 5:32 am ET
By the next-in-line custom of the Republican Party, Mitt Romney should be his partys presidential front-runner. And he is, sort of, but his early polling and his pick-and-choose primary map betrays the precariousness of his position.
No conversation about the former Massachusetts governor begins with a listing of his strengths as a candidate. Instead, Romney is the rare national politician defined largely by his shortcomings. The most prominent among them his role in enacting a sweeping Massachusetts health care law exactly five years agowas already being dissected by his Republican and Democratic opponents on Monday just moments after he announced hes forming a presidential exploratory committee.
Its an awkward space to occupy. How Romney deals with the health care issue and his other perceived weaknesses will go a long way toward determining whether he can outlast his prospective opponents and capture the Republican nomination in 2012.
Here are five of his most significant challengesand what can be
done about them.
The Genuine Article
For all the talk about Mormonism and flip-flops, Romney faced a more fundamental problem in 2008: he couldnt relate to voters. The more delicate term is authenticity, a reference to the impression that he was a walking PowerPoint presentation full of crisply-delivered bullet-points but lacking a human touch. (See also: Evangelicals meet: Could be heaven for Mitt)
On the campaign trail, he was as clinical as he was political. When an Iowa boy with autism spoke up at one of his town halls there, he responded not with a comforting hand but rather with a recitation of National Institutes of Health funding levels.
Romney is never going to be a back-slapping politician who will pull up a chair, reach across the table for a piece of fried chicken and talk effortlessly about sports or anything else that might establish an emotional connection with voters.
But Romney advisers still hold out hope for Mitt 2.0. (See also: Poll: Mitt Romney GOP's best New Hampshire hope)
On a personal level, hes making some overt efforts to come off as less stiff. As Romneys friends will relate, he comes off in private as much more at ease than his public image would suggest. Its especially true when hes in the company of his down-to-earth wife, Ann. Expect to see more of them as a couple as theyve done already on some talk shows in a fashion that brings out what associates say is the real Romney.
It was no accident that the Republican announced his exploratory committee in a casual jacket and open-collared shirt. In fact, its rare to find Romney in a business suit these days. The message: Hes not a starchy, inaccessible rich guy who was born in a Brooks Brothers suit.
Its a small, but not insignificant, step toward humanizing the former governor. And its part of a broader make-overcheck out pictures of Romney over the last two years and youll find his hair, always perfectly coiffed in 2008, is now occasionally out of place. One image even had him in an old-fashioned barbers chair.
The hope in Romneyland is that in a time of financial distress, voters will place credentials above or at least equal to likability. The thinking is that even if Romney isnt the guy that youd like to have the proverbial beer with, hes an adult with business and turnaround experience at a time the country needs a CEO more than a pal in the White House.
The new approach isnt without risk. Too much overcompensation on his imagesay, jeans at a debate and he could seem even more inauthentic.
It also wouldnt hurt Romney if he had a moment where he could demonstrate real passionperhaps something similar to Reagans I paid for this microphone! declaration in the 1980 New Hampshire primary. It would have to be spontaneous or at least appear as such to portray him a flesh-and-blood leader who people can rally around. It was at that moment, future historians would say, that people began seeing Romney as a president.
A Pre-Existing Condition
Of all the flaws in Romneys candidacy, the one most likely to doom him in the primary is his record on health care. (See also: New Hampshire GOP chair Jack Kimball defends Mitt Romney on health care)
Five years ago, almost to the day, Romney signed a law expanding health care coverage in Massachusetts and requiring every resident to purchase insurance.
For a Republican running against President Obama whose national health care overhaul enraged the GOP that accomplishment might be a dealbreaker.
The best political analog would by Hillary Clintons vote for the Iraq war. That issue alone made her vulnerable in the 2008 primaries. And Clintons inept, shifting explanations for her vote stirred up deeper reservations about her within the Democratic base.
So far, Romney has struggled in much the same way to explain his health care record, attempting to distinguish Romneycare from Obamacare by calling the Massachusetts law an experiment in states rights.
The law addressed problems that were in many ways unique to Massachusetts, Romney claimed in New Hampshire last month.
His explanation hasnt satisfied hard-core health care opponents.
If Romney ultimately needs a sharper-edged response, he has at least two options.
The first would be a full walk-back and apology for his past position; the second, a full-throated, give-no-quarter defense of a policy he helped craft.
Either would be easier to navigate than the middle-ground hes attempting to chart now, but either could also just as easily compound his problem by reinforcing his finger-in-the-wind image or confirming to conservative skeptics that hes in sync with Obama on the issue.
In the video unveiling his exploratory committee Monday, Romney didnt mention health care at all.
Dont Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?
That was the question Mike Huckabee not-so-innocuously posed in the weeks before the Iowa caucuses in 2008. It captures what, once again, will be one of Romneys central problems in the Republican primary: a level of ignorance and intolerance in the ranks of the GOPs conservative grassroots when it comes to Romneys Mormon faith.
Some Romney advisers attribute his nine-point Iowa loss to Huckabee almost entirely to religious discrimination. One former aide recalls a focus group in which nearly half the group indicated they found the candidates faith problematic. The former Massachusetts governor had other difficulties in Iowa but theres no getting around the fact that there are some evangelical voters who simply wont support a Mormon.
Well, Romney tried to deliver a Big Religion Speech last time assuring such voters that Jesus Christ was his savior and making the case for the role of faith in public life. It didnt work.
The approach now is to just not bother with those who have qualms over Mormonism. That means keeping the focus on bread-and-butter economic issues and not delving into his faith. Voters can judge Romneys character on the way hes lived his life, this thinking goes, and look at his commitment to family.
Translated into strategic terms, that means focusing on states where the electorate isnt dominated by evangelicals (New Hampshire), where there is an outsized share of Mormons (Nevada) or where the primary turnout will be large enough to outnumber the contingent of voters who cant get past his religion (Florida).
The Bain of his existence
Romneys all-jobs, all-the-time message may be his best hope of sidestepping questions about the policies he implemented as a blue state governor.
But taking refuge in his business background as a Bain Capital executive presents a different set of risks for Romney. Put simply: You dont make a fortune in private equity without closing a few plants.
During Romneys 1994 Senate campaign and 2002 run for governor, labor groups brought in workers from American Pad and Paper among other companies to talk about how Bain took over and cut jobs.
In his announcement video, Romney conceded that his private-sector record is not blemish free.
Sometimes I was successful and helped create jobs, other times I was not, Romney said. I learned how America competes with companies in other countries, why jobs leave and how jobs are created here at home.
That message might prove effective. But in a worst-case scenario, Romney could go the way of another presidential candidate from Massachusetts, Democratic Sen. John Kerry, who downplayed his spotty legislative record by touting a different part of his biography his service in Vietnam. When that military record came under fire and Kerry failed to vigorously defend it, the rationale for his candidacy crumbled.
At campaign events four years ago, Romney was often trailed by a kid wearing a dolphin costume. The joke: Mitt is a flip-flopper.
As long as YouTube exists, Romney isnt going to be able to get away from questions about his past stances on issues. He tried feverishly in 2008 to suggest that it wasnt so, but Romney the 1994 Senate candidate and Romney the 2002 gubernatorial candidate was more moderate than the current iteration. His primary opponents and national Democrats were already reminding reporters minutes after his Monday announcement that the news came on the anniversary of his signing healthcare reform into law; a Democratic website, Multiple Choice Mitt, will launch on Tuesday.
The Romney approach to the flip-flop rap appears to be one of focus. As his video illustrated, the former governor intends to keep to a tight message on jobs and fiscal issues. Hes not going to try to pounce on every opportunity to outflank his primary rivals on the right remember the Sanctuary Cities battle with Rudy Giuliani? but rather to talk about what he knows best and what voters care about most.
That wont be enough for Republicans who are animated by cultural issues. But, as with his Mormonism, the view in the Romney camp is that those voters will probably never be with them. Romney is the beneficiary of a moment when the conservative grassroots are focused on jobs, spending and worries about American decline more than they are exercised about abortion and gay rights.
Still, hell have to come up with a cohesive message about where he was and where he is on cultural mattersone that will allow him to pivot back to his preferred focus on jobs and the economy. Different versions of his stances on hot-buttons will only reinforce the problem.
Edited by Peter Taylor, 13 April 2011 - 08:54 AM.