June 1st, 2009
08:55 AM ET
9 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. Shadysider

    Romney, Palin and Huckabee are in line to destroy each other. Can't wait.

    June 1, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. Joseph

    Romney (like more Repulicans) is a hypocrite. If he is concerned about the deficit, where was he when Bush II doubled our national debt from 5 trillion to 10 trillion?

    June 1, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  3. Cindy Ohio Independent Mom

    Sue, that is a perfect description of Romney. He is a bad actor. I said he was fake, but you hit it on head. It seems like travels with a make-up artist. It that wig???

    June 1, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  4. Barnes Franklin

    Gov Romney, can you believe there are Americans who believe Obama when he says we need to spend trillions more to get the country back on its feet when we are already in near-bankrupt state?

    June 1, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. John

    Romney can act like a candidate all he want. He can salivate the presidency but will never get it!

    June 1, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. RealityKing

    Mitt had the correct plan for GM last year. Obama doesn't even know how to run a buisness much less a government!

    And of course, Nancy is still being misled by the nose..

    June 1, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    About the LAST thing this country needs is another "tax cuts for the rich will solve everything" economically conservative Republican in the White House. No thanks. Don't want.

    June 1, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. Barnes Franklin

    In 2012, there will not be enough Americans who can get to the polls to vote for anyone because Obama is bankrupting the entire country. There will be no cars running, and the gas would be too high-priced anyway. Obama has already put two American automakers out of business so he can bring in European scooters. I am amazed at the number of Americans who still say he's a good man. What a deluded bunch...still clinging to this man who will destroy the USA.

    June 1, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Turnabout is Fair Play

    I've never seen a more plastic, stiff, and arrogant "Ken" doll-like idiot in my life. Thank GOD this neo-con has-been did not get a chance to become our President. The fact you lost to McGeezer should tell you something about how we less-than-rich Americans think of you.

    June 1, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  10. Glarn Skleeblemann

    Mitt Romney: Renaissance Man. Handsome Business & Finance Expert, Good Looking Foreign Policy Leader, Attractive Critic of All Things Liberal And/Or Socialistic, Charismatic Defender of All Things Conservative And/Or Patriotic,Photogenic Exemplar of Religious and Cultural Tolerance, Humble and Appealing Master of the Universe. Wow, what a guy!
    He should be president simply on the chance that if he is just one tenth as good as he thinks he is, we're looking at the greatest presidents in history! Forget about his politics! Just imagine that fantastic smile looking back at you from, say, a 10 gabillion dollar note, while youre standing in line at McDonalds 30 years from now. Romney/Palin 2012!

    June 1, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. LB in FL

    Move along people. Nothing to see here.

    June 1, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  12. Ren from Baltimore

    Yes, Mitt Romney _is_ acting like a candidate.

    Unfortunately for him, but to the benefit of our nation's safey and security, it is the same, lame candidacy he ran with and lost last time.

    June 1, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. Matthew

    hahahahah i love all you liberals hating on romney! it will be a sight to see when the teleprompter is taken away from Obama during the first Romney-Obama debate and Romney tears him apart. you say romney is a flip flopper?! Obama has changed his positions so many times in his first 100+ days, taking much of Bush's positions (to which i agree with the President)! all you hate on romney so much cause youre scared of him. I agree that Palin would have no shot against Romney, but no one can deny the experience and success of Mitt Romney over his career.

    Mitt '12!

    June 1, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  14. Lori

    GOP can only resort to the same old, losing, boring faces like Mitt Romney. No fresh talent. No new faces. They've lost ground with every voting bloc (young people, women, ethnic minorities, etc.). The only group they've managed to maintain is the Golden Girls/Grumpy Old Men voting bloc. But oh, yeah... they're on their way to a comeback next year... yeahhh, riiggghhhttt.

    June 1, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. Proud Member..Party of No

    Too bad Romney isn't running the country right now. We could use someone who has an idea of what he's doing instead of the amateur community organizer that we are stuck with.

    June 1, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. Peter E

    Romney is still crying over the fact he lost even the primaries! His own party didn't want him to be their nominee either! What a loser! Just give up already! You'll never be president!

    June 1, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  17. Teleprompter of the U.S.A.

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

    Ronald Reagan lost in the 1976 Republican primary, if I recall correctly, and then went on to own everyone in 980 and 1984.

    June 1, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. Teleprompter of the U.S.A.

    Romney acts like a candidate and Obama acts like a President.

    June 1, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  19. Anonymous

    The problem with Romney is not that he is a morman but that he is a pompous arrogant idiot. He thinks hes better than anyone else. And of course he is rich. I know he is well groomed to be part of his upper crust society. But he like many republicans is just looking down at the lower classes.

    June 1, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Romney should stay on the sidelines. He won't win because his past Reed Richards impression (the flexiblity on the issues and the hair). He doesn't seem sincere enough for me; I think that he could be faking it plenty of times.

    June 1, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Vern

    What do you expect a bitter republilcan to say..of course this guy is going to make another try at the presidency, which by the way he will loose. He has no substance at all, his comment are empty and only cater to the gop way of thinking. These people are not inclusive and will never be, that's that sad part about it. They cannot win the presidency with the people who think like them! With all the bashing this person gives President Obama and always siding with former President Bush we all see that he is a one trick pony!! ..only looking out for the white guys with money!!

    June 1, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  22. Bob of Lompoc

    Twinky speaks ! Another White, Rich, Male, Republican. I am so tired of them and their old ideas. Now, after spending weeks complaining that President Obama is spending too much tax payer money, he suggests that we deal with North Korea (GNP, and number of nuclear weapons possessed about the same as a small South American country) by spending trillions ($) on a Ballistic Missle Defense System. Old Republican Trick: Have Government spend gazillions ($) on useless "defense" items and leave the piggy bank empty for when it's time for domestic spending.

    June 1, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |

    Not Mittens he couldnt even Beat Mccain in the Primaries, What a Joke! hahahah Mittens go away your not wanted you think you would know that by now!

    June 1, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  24. fred

    He's acting as much as a candidate as Obama currently is.

    June 1, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. Amanda B Reckonwith

    Watching him is like watching a plant grow.

    June 1, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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