June 1st, 2009
08:55 AM ET
5 years ago

Romney acting like candidate?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mitt Romney, disciplined politician, is quick to say he's not a presidential candidate. It's Mitt Romney's schedule that seems to be a bit off-message.

Earlier this year, he got a hero's welcome at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where more than a few attendees attendees insisted his economic credentials might have nabbed him the Oval Office if the economic crisis had hit before the Republican Party had decided on its 2008 standard-bearer.

On Friday, he was the keynote speaker at the Virginia GOP's Commonwealth Gala dinner in Richmond. Yesterday, he weighed in on his party's future on Fox News, Sunday. The former Massachusetts governor's making appearances as a key member of the National Council for a New America - the move, led by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, to re-brand the GOP. Meanwhile, Free and Strong America PAC - Romney's political action committee, dedicated to supporting conservative candidates - is helping him build the national network of party loyalists he'd need to clinch the nomination, if he decides to run again.

And today, nearly two weeks after former vice president Dick Cheney took on President Barack Obama's national security policy before a think-tank crowd in Washington, Romney is scheduled to give his own take - laid out in a speech called "The Care of Freedom" - to a Heritage Foundation audience, assessing the new administration's response on North Korea and other foreign policy challenges.

It's slated to be the latest in a string of tough critiques of President Obama - including a tough take on Supreme Court pick Sonia Sotomayor - that have made him a conservative favorite in the first months of the new administration, even as he carefully avoids the kind of incendiary attacks and media overexposure that could threaten mainstream appeal he'd need to reach the Oval Office.

On Sunday, the 2008 presidential contender denied reports he was planning to move his permanent residence to the Granite State in advance of a repeat run for the nation's top spot. But he was more equivocal on the overall question of a 2012 bid. "I'm not going to close that door" he told Fox - although, he added, "I'm not going to walk through it either."

"[T]he action that I'm going through right now is trying to help people who I think would make a difference for the country and, frankly, also help some people who helped me," he said.

Romney's re-invention hasn't come without a few false steps. Supporters of Newt Gingrich, another Republican leader whose name is regularly mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, complained last month that the former House Speaker was initially prevented from joining the NCNA by the former governor's team - a charge Romney's aides, and Cantor representatives, strongly deny.

And after he weighed in on behalf of New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie, supported by the Free and Strong America PAC, primary rival Steve Lonegan fired back with a salvo aimed squarely at Romney's chief vulnerability last cycle: the sense by some movement conservatives that the Massachusetts resident was more moderate than he would like Republicans to believe.

"Mitt Romney was rejected by Republican Primary voters because he was a moderate trying to pass himself off as a conservative just in time to win an election," said Lonegan in a statement released by his campaign.

It's the kind of reaction that helped cost him the nomination last cycle - and the sort of response his team would like to banish long before the next race takes shape. But Romney's not counting on immediate rewards on his long journey back to the campaign trail.

"We have plenty of time to decide what the future holds," he told Fox on Sunday. "It's very early, five months into the president's term. We'll see how he does, and we as a party are going to come back stronger, more vibrant, and more committed to following the principles that have always been at the base of our party."


Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Frank, Las Vegas

    Gee, giving a speech to the Heritage Foundation, that's like talking to yourself isn't it, Mitt? You can't get too much more right wing than the Heritage Foundation. I bet he stands by everything that Cheney, Rush and Newt say, word for word. He thinks that the R-N-C (Rush, Newt, Cheney) is the road to 2012. He's a fool and he'll find out that the R-N-C and their politics of fear and hate no longer work in America. Once again proving that he's an idiot.

    June 1, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. Adele

    Acting like a candidate ? Acting as his usual fool ...

    June 1, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. Deb

    Sorry Mitt Romney...fear mongering will not work. Most Americans voted against it this past election.

    June 1, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Mitt Romney will not be running in 2012. He knows he can't win.
    He is just using up he last 15 minutes of political fame. After the next year, Mr Romney will disappear. He will go back to hoarding his millions.

    June 1, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. Andi

    Sorry, Mitt, we are still the 'Home of the Brave', not the home of the 'Appropriately Fearful' (to quite a GOP talking point) as you GOP folks would like us to be

    June 1, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Emma, San Jose

    What exactly does Romney bring to the table that makes him qualified to
    be the US President? If he really wants people to hear what he has to say, he will need to be less traditional GOP in his comments and more open to what Americans value.

    June 1, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. valover

    When John F. Kennedy ran for president there were many who voted against him because he was Roman Catholic and the voters did not want the Pope to control the USA. Now we have Mitt Romney, a Mormon (though not a bigamist as someone idiotly commented) and we had voters who would not have voted for him lest the Mormon Church control the USA. Perhaps all future presidents should be atheists and then we wouldn't have to worry about any church or church heirarchy "controlling" the USA. Oh, darn, I forgot about the Congress; gee don't they have a say in what is going on in this country?

    June 1, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Post always rejected by CNN

    So he says give GM back to the people. I for one did not know we owned GM I thought they were a private company. Same old Romeny, doesn't know his butt from a hole in the ground, which every time he opens his mouth he digs that hole deeper.

    June 1, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. DavidinCA

    The Obama administration's reckless start out of the gate make Romney look really good in comparison. How well did throwing billions at Wall Street do for jump starting the economy? They don't even know where the money ended up! How about tens of billions of tax dollars to save our domestic auto industry? Chrysler is being sold to Fiat and GM is toast ( but taxpayer-owned toast ). They are getting ready to throw $30 billion more at GM! Ford took no money and is relying on good products to survive. What a concept!

    ...and then there's the $1 trillion stimulus package. Loaded with pork spending it is shaping up to be yet another irresponsible fiasco.

    I'm sure that by 2012 America will be fed up and ready for responsible government. Mitt Romney knows what that looks like and can be the guy to make it work.

    June 1, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. RCasson

    Obama will destroy him.

    June 1, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  11. John

    Mitt had said GM should be let fail and all big 3. Why,
    He is a republican, that is enough for me!

    June 1, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. Independent_me

    This is one scary looking man. He just looks evil to me!

    June 1, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Qui-Tam Relator

    ********************************
    No More Rich Power Elite running for a government position in this country. It's time we start having common folk in power that speaks for the common people. Everyone that we have put into office in the last 100 years are either Rich, Politically Connected or from a Ivory league School. It's time to let the common folk run the country. It's time for a Revolution in this country because it has become Us against Them. There is no more time for idle chatter and lies form the Power Elite ! ********************************

    June 1, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
1 2 3 4