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. Virginia

    He is still a Mormon. He will never be president.

    June 1, 2009 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  2. Had It

    Will he bring all his wives to the WH?

    June 1, 2009 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  3. kishen c.rao

    he can act, but who will vote???

    June 1, 2009 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  4. Simmy

    Show US what 'new' stuff you've got Romney.......The same old attacks won't work.....We're ready and waiting for you.....Bring It On......

    June 1, 2009 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  5. Seattle Sue

    Romney is a bad actor.

    June 1, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Not the Mitt Romney that lost to John McCain in the primaries? He's a joke!

    June 1, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  7. Sharon Kitchen

    Yep...............good ole' wait and see mitch.

    He will let the dem clean up the bush mess..............then when all neat,.he will decide........right....................................

    How is that land you helped move the Dineh' onto.......remember the toxic radio-active dump......................remember those children?

    right.................you want to run for 2012.............................

    June 1, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  8. Abel

    Mitt Romney is a Joke & shoukld waite for 2012 before jumping the Gun, his time is past

    June 1, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  9. the old sage

    who cares??? we have entered into a new era in this country-where the right will learn it really is feed the poor, help the homeless, children with no father–you know, all those values we as Christians believe in. we do not need any more tricky dicks in DC-2 was enough.

    June 1, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  10. Mike

    He WILL lose if he runs in 2012! PERIOD!

    Please get some ideas Romney! You and the Republican Party have NONE at this point!

    June 1, 2009 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  11. dominican mama 4 Obama

    "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."

    And what exactly are those principles again Herman?

    June 1, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  12. Boudin

    They should have picked him to run this time.

    June 1, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  13. Paul

    I think you can replace "Mitt Romney, disciplined politician" with "Mitt Romney, obvious politician." I can't think of anyone in the country right now so eager to politicize any issue at all just to get his name in the news. And the reason he is a failure at the national level is because the public see through him: Romney holds whatever position is convenient. Goodness knows what he actually believes.

    He sounds more like a politician than anyone else in the Republican party right now. That is not a compliment.

    June 1, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  14. JonDie

    "Mitt Romney, disciplined politician, is quick to say he's not a presidential candidate."

    Romney is a politican, presidential candidate and snake oil salesman all wrapped in one. Surely there must be a used car lot out there somewhere that needs a salesame like Romney.

    June 1, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  15. alvino

    If McCain does not run, Mitt may have a chance. He was slapped around badly by McCain in the 2008 primaries. Add to the insult, Sarah Palin was picked as VP candidate over the Mitt wit, so most view him as insignificant.

    June 1, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  16. Mari( maybe one of my comments will be posted)

    Yes...... poor man wants the presidency so badly. Wont happen, sorry Mitt, the far-right-holier-than-thou-crowd wont select a Mormon, that is a fact. There is prejudice everywhere.

    June 1, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  17. Dan, TX

    Romney should run for president. It will be fun to watch a flip-flop republican like Romney go up against the centrist Obama.

    June 1, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  18. LA2NC

    Apparently Romney didn't get the message the first time. THANKS BUT NO THANKS. Please just go away, far away........ just pick one of your many homes and GO!

    June 1, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  19. Andrew

    Ummm yah good luck with that. Already??? What the heck is he thinking that people are going to swarm to him? Knock yourself out!!!

    June 1, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  20. james

    Nothing more than a panderer!
    I'm sure he's waiting with baited breath for another terrorist attack so hey can say, "I told you so!"...

    June 1, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  21. Vic of New York

    Keep on truck'n Mitt! Who knows, maybe 2024 will be your year!

    June 1, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  22. Desert Storm VETERAN - Welcome to the end of the era of dumb ass Republicans and Stoopid Retards like Rush Limbaugh and Newt in power

    CNN – Stop running stories about this polygamist who lost his bid for the election. He is from the Party of No. Wait, maybe you didn't get the memo. Obama is our president and will be for 8 great years. Shut up, while I'm talking to you!

    June 1, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  23. The black spider

    Why didn't he win his party nomination against A 72 years Old man in the last campaign. What make him think he will pull it off this time?
    Illusionists. Good luck mitt

    June 1, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  24. Terry

    Americans do not need a CEO president. We just got rid of one, and look at the mess he made! This very disappointing generation of CEOs has led us into this recession, which could have been easily avoided. After being bailed out, they will lead us into another if we don't regulate them properly this time around.

    For those of you who cannot afford your medication, you must realize that America's CEOs are sharing our pain. "But," I hear you say, "they have houses, cars, and they still make 400 times what I do!"

    What you don't realize is that some of them have been forced put their personal jets up for sale. That has got to be really humiliating.

    June 1, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  25. nom deplume, esq.

    If Mitt weren't a Mormon, he would already be President. Forget that Mormons aren't that different from most christians (I had loads of mormon friends, and if they didn't tell you they were LDS church members, you would never guess), most americans have already (and ignorantly) decided that mormons are some weird cult.

    Couple that with the fact that an economic meltdown has made many americans feel that socialism has more to offer them, and a self-made, successful entrepreneur has less chance of succeeding in politics now than before.

    Mitt cannot win in 2012. Further, I cannot see why anyone would even want to try.

    June 1, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
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