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."
I will not vote for this guy!
Mitt, the republican party has never had an idea, they have helped their extremely rich buds, but screw the middle and lower class people well we have lived on crumbs that the rich rejects...
Follow the principles of the party, give tax breaks to the rich and raise taxes on the peons, they have don't matter in the least.
Mitt Romney is so full of himself, does he seriously think if he just keeps running, one day he'll be elected by luck?
The flaw in Romneys logic is that by pandering only to the far right of the party and not reaching out to anyone other than the conservative base can any candidate from the GOP compete beyond their own base in a general election?
While the GOP continually speaks of coming back stronger, there is every indication that the conservative base is ever shrinking so the question becomes, a stronger GOP for whom?
All he did while in Massachusetts was self promotion. He came, got his "experience" and left. He is a salesman/self-promoter don't expect anything else from this clown.
Romney? Isn't he a Scientologist? Who cares what cult people think?
Mitt is acting like a presidential candidate and that's cool. The Republican party needs a leader. The problem is that in all likelyhood, Dick Cheney has applied for the job as Vice President citing his previous 8 years of experience. With Cheney pulling Mitt Romney's strings, this country doesn't need any enemys.
I hope so. It's assuring Obama another 4.
He's also a loser, pathological liar and a snake salesmen.
Acting like a canidate is about all that Romney is good for ... if that
A self centered loser, who's only goal is self promotion ...
It's no wonder the Republican party is in the tank with idiots like Romney as their top stars
The recent FLUSHING sound in the GOP ranks is music to my ears ...
The Party Of NO ... thing
We just came off of 8 years of irresponsible Republican governance. Cutting taxes for the wealthy has not resulted in improved education or better health-care, nor has it resulted in companies self-regulating themselves to improve the environment, or prevent borderline illegal trading practices which collapsed our economy. No Mitt, unless you have actual ideas which will result in the improvement of our society I basically don't care to hear your old ideas.
Romney is a whiny child just like the rest of the current leaders. There's a bunch of people that are trying to "act" like they're a candidate while digging the hole under the party deeper and deeper because they won't shut up.
Well I sure hope he runs! President Obama will be re-elected in no time... The Republitards have no one to go up against President Obama in 2012
Lord help us!!!!!!
Who let the dogs out!
Keep dreaming Mitt, Newt and Rush. Keep digging that hole deeper and deeper and just fall in, will ya? Please? Thanks.
Mitt Romney is out of his mind if he thinks he has a chance at winning the nomination, let alone the presidency. He needs to go back to Michigan or Utah and write a set of memoirs that will be as self-serving and mutable as his political positions.
Mitt Romney is unlikeable. I really detest him. He is plastic and phoney.
Is that all you got Stupid Republicans. Ha, Ha, Ha!
Yes, Romney is acting like a candidate. He should, because he plans on running for office again. Makes sense, right?
Did you not learn from your mistakes last year?
Tough to put much faith into someone named after a baseball glove.
I do not beleive any of them candidate at this point They always say what sounds good. I do not like Romney. For some reason I do not trust him. He just doesnt seem to be a genuine guy. Maybe it is his look. He looks fake. Eventhough I question Obama in many decisions he has made, but I still think he is a honest man. For me to vote for GOP they are going to have to get someone new. Every possible candidate they have now is not going to work for me and most Americans. You need a fresh look GOP!
Candidate? Really? Who'd vote for him?
Romney, Palin and Huckabee are in line to destroy each other. Can't wait.