Mitt Romney: The man in demand on the campaign trail
August 19th, 2014
02:53 PM ET
1 month ago

Mitt Romney: The man in demand on the campaign trail

(CNN) - It's a busy dance card.

Mitt Romney's on the campaign trail in West Virginia, North Carolina, and Arkansas the next three days, helping fellow Republicans running for office this year. For the 2012 GOP nominee, this week's travel is the latest example of Romney's political resurrection from presidential election loser to respected party rainmaker and elder statesman.

"Governor Romney is a tremendous leader for the Republican Party. His ability to skewer President Obama and his administration's flawed and failed policies are unparalleled, as time and again he has been proven correct on a host of 2012 campaign issues," said veteran New Hampshire GOP consultant Jim Merrill, who was a top adviser to Romney in the Granite State in the 2008 and 2012 campaigns.

"As a seasoned campaigner, proven fundraiser and beloved elder statesman, its no surprise that Governor Romney is in such demand on the campaign trail," Merrill told CNN.

Complete Coverage: 2014 Midterm Elections

The former Massachusetts governor is the main attraction Tuesday in West Virginia at a fundraiser in Charleston and a rally later in the day in Beckley for Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, the GOP Senate nominee in the state. The events will also benefit Republican congressional candidates Alex Mooney and Evan Jenkins.

Capito, who's served seven terms in Congress, is considered the favorite in the race against West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, the Democratic nominee. The winner in November's midterm elections will succeed longtime Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who is retiring after three decades in the Senate. The GOP sees the seat as a strong pick up opportunity.

Capito's campaign has tried to link Tennant to the White House and to congressional Democratic leaders like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and they see Romney as an effective messenger in a state where he trounced the President in the 2012 election.

"I haven't seen a single poll that shows Obama above 30% job approval in West Virginia. What we saw in 2012, which was Mitt winning with 62% of the vote has just gotten worse for Obama since then. It's clear that Obama is just not a popular guy in the state and Mitt is," said Neil Newhouse, a longtime senior Capito adviser who served as chief pollster for Romney's 2012 campaign.

Romney ends Tuesday in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he'll be the main attraction at a fundraiser for state House Speaker Thom Tillis. He's the Republican Senate nominee who's challenging first term Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. It's another race where the GOP hopes to flip a Democratic held Senate seat.

On Wednesday and Thursday Romney is in Arkansas, lending a helping hand to Asa Hutchinson, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, and Rep. Tom Cotton, the GOP's Senate nominee. Both contests are seen as very competitive.

"The fact that Mitt Romney is in such high demand, and red state Senate Democrats are avoiding President Obama like the plague, is extremely telling," a Republican official told CNN.

Next month Romney teams up with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to help raise money for the Garden State's GOP. And he's back on the campaign trail in late September, traveling to Colorado and Virginia to help Republican candidates. Romney advisers say their boss will spend parts of October helping fellow Republicans.

Democrats are using Romney's 2014 appearances on the campaign trail to replay some of his 2012 verbal blunders.

"The former Massachusetts Governor believes that 'corporations are people too,'" said a press release from the Tennant campaign, linking to the famous quote from Romney that fueled numerous attacks from Democrats.

"Republican Senate candidates share Mitt Romney's special interest agenda that's good for billionaires like the Koch Brothers but bad for middle class families across the country and just like Mitt they've been good at winning primaries but will be unacceptable to voters in a general election," Justin Barasky, press secretary for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told CNN.

Romney's new role

Romney stayed far from the political spotlight following his bruising defeat to Obama. But starting in the summer of 2013, he began to get more involved in shaping the future of his party and guiding the national conversation. Romney also endorsed some two dozen candidates in the GOP primaries, with those he backed coming out on top in their contests.

With the two living former Republican presidents, George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush, both staying far from the political conversation, Romney started to fill the void.

"Mitt Romney is the most prominent and engaged elder statesman the GOP has on the national stage right now," added Merrill.

While Romney is enjoying a renaissance, the President, thanks to a host of crises both domestic and international, is struggling with an approval rating in the low to mid 40's.

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A recent CNN/ORC International poll indicated that if the 2012 election were held today, Romney would top Obama 53%-44% in the popular vote.

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But the same survey suggested that Romney would lose to Hillary Clinton 55%-42% in a hypothetical 2016 matchup. Romney, who also ran for the 2008 GOP nomination, has repeatedly ruled out a third bid for the White House.


Filed under: 2014 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Tony

    According to the poll, Romney would lose to Hillary by a bigger margin (55% to 42%) than he did in losing to Obama (51% to 47%). This is the man Republicans want to campaign for them?

    August 19, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Oh. Mittens would beat Obama but lose to Clinton?

    So which of Mittens BFFs wrote the story for CNN? And why even bother writing it to begin with, unless Mitt Romney has a special need to see his name in media print 24/7.

    Dude lost to Obama. He (and the media) need to get over it.

    August 19, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. smith

    @Malory-AWOL is not a crime and 99% of time is handled in the non-judicial process. Btw, yo implied that he may have been kidnapped and there is witnesses or evidence to even make that claim.

    August 19, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Sniffit
    "Does Willard have an opinion about what's going on Ferguson?"

    Sure he does...I guarantee it. Would you like to hear his public opinion about it or his private opinion about it?
    --------------------------------–
    I prefer the private opinion. He usually tells the truth behind closed doors.

    August 19, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. rs

    it must be said

    "The fact that Mitt Romney is in such high demand, and red state Senate Democrats are avoiding President Obama like the plague, is extremely telling," a Republican official told CNN.
    -–
    A recent CNN/ORC International poll indicated that if the 2012 election were held today, Romney would top Obama 53%-44% in the popular vote.
    -–

    The country knows it was lied to and conned and wishes Obama was never re-elected. The constant disasters and failures have only added to that feeling. The Obama Presidency: 8 Years of Disaster, Failure & Lies.
    ____________________________
    Naturally the Right thinks affordable health care insurance is bad, as well as a 4% growth rate for our economy in the last quarter, along with the record corporate profits, record automobile sales, rebounding home prices, healthy 401(k)s, and a record stock market- all quite horrible. Add to that no new wars, and diplomatic successes abroad, and the Right is beside itself. Really? The last Republican in the White House crashed the ambulance badly. Sorry, the GOP has no credibility or a track record to match this President's.

    August 19, 2014 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. smith

    oops, should have been there is no evidence or witnesses to back up that claim.

    August 19, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Van

    Sniffit

    "Does Willard have an opinion about what's going on Ferguson?"

    Sure he does...I guarantee it. Would you like to hear his public opinion about it or his private opinion about it?
    ++++++++++++
    I am sure he is but its not politically correct to say it. Blacks represent 13% of the population and represent 49% of murder victims, 93% of which are committed by other blacks. Black on black, Asian, white or Hispanic matters not but when its white on black the presumption of innocence goes out the window.

    August 19, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. don in albuquerque

    The King of stupid statements
    International public embarrassment
    Sworn to represent only about half the country
    Recipient of "Lie of the Year" award
    Believes Corporations are people
    Hides money in off shore accounts
    Won't produce tax records......
    Any other questions why Mittwitt is kind of like the GOTP Mecca?

    August 19, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  9. rs

    Tony

    According to the poll, Romney would lose to Hillary by a bigger margin (55% to 42%) than he did in losing to Obama (51% to 47%). This is the man Republicans want to campaign for them?
    __________________________
    Quite so, but my most favorite Romney factoid- is that after dissing our parents and our Vets as being part of the 47% "takers", that in the end, he only got 47% of the votes cast. Karma? If Mr. Romney wants to play a role, the Democrats should loop and play "Corporations are people too, my friends". It is everything one needs to know about Mr. Romney and the GOP.

    August 19, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  10. bombastus

    Republicans don't get. They have convinced themselves that Romney and the message were not the problem but just how the message was delivered. That slickster Obama just beat 'em at the social media game. Sorry. Garbage wrapped in a pretty box is still garbage. The GOP needs a total reboot and a change of both message and messenger. The ultra-right has chased out the fiscally conservative but socially moderate republicans and unless you totally go right down the line and accept all GOP dogma, you are labeled a RINO and shown the door. It might take one or two more losses for the GOP to actually get it. President Clinton. Get use to it.

    August 19, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  11. GOP = Greed Over People

    Popular in West Virginia?

    Now, there is a worthy trophy for anyone with national aspirations to be the next President.

    Cue the banjos, for the Inaugural "balls".

    August 19, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. Iamnotfooled

    Etch – a – Sketch? LOL.

    August 19, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  13. drake mallard

    in a Romney world.
    Life is taxless. It's fantastic.
    Silver tip your hair, tax shelters everywhere,
    Outsource nation, Bain is his creation.

    August 19, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "It's a busy dance card."

    And a cardboard cut-out of a white guy that you're talking about as the dancer.

    August 19, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
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