Mitt Romney: The man in demand on the campaign trail
August 19th, 2014
02:53 PM ET
2 months 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. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Does Willard have an opinion about what's going on Ferguson? He's quick to weigh in on everything else. Since he did so badly among African Americans, Latin Americans and women in his last election, it would behoove him to state his opinion rather than be mum on the issue.

    August 19, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  2. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Another useless poll. It's easy to sit back and criticize when you don't have to do the heavy lifting.

    Btw isn't this the same guy that said, he didn't really want to be POTUS?

    Oh Foxlite you people crack me up. President Obama would still put the smackdown on Mitt.

    August 19, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  3. bill

    This should fire up the obamabots. Start the name calling--3-2-1

    August 19, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Dude still has the creepiest eyes. And he looks like he's always lying. But please run him again....

    Go ahead.... Three times the charm...😊

    But will he release his taxes, birth certificate, and his transcripts? Long form please.

    August 19, 2014 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. 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.

    August 19, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. stormchaser 101

    I'll bet you 10,000.00 dollars the 47 percent of america dosen't think mittens is all that great!

    August 19, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. Longtimer

    Kind of sad when their insanely rich, three-time loser is the go-to guy on the campaign trail. The GOP better get used to losing in '16 if this is their best in action (maybe that should be inaction!).

    August 19, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Beware, folks. Mitt Romney is the bright shiny object that conservatives want you to watch and listen to. He's going to be the poster child for their makeover following their autopsy report. [always new the party was dead and done]

    Mitt is going to be the moderate voice, the adult in the room. He will say things that would make most of the base call him a RINO. But, what does he care? The base is going to feel good about their candidate, because they know that their candidate will never say or think those sort of things.

    In other words, Romney is going to be out there to "grow the tent" by duping moderates into thinking that he is actually speaking for the actual candidates. Republicans will still be running the same types of extreme candidates. Romney is just the distraction so that most people won't notice that the Republican Party has been nearly completely overrun by extremists.

    August 19, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    LOL....53% to 40% for President Mittens...as if we didn't watch all the polls BEFORE the election that said something similar get disproven horribly. Give it up. Mittens is an alsoran has-been on the speaking circuit and that's all he'll be for the rest of his life.

    August 19, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. Malroy Archer

    smith

    @Malory-Bergdahl was seen leaving the base by himself, he was seen in an Afghan Village by himmself, and the Taliban have said when he was captured he was by himself away from the base. The investigation found he left his base on his own freewill. Btw, I`ve said he went AWOL not deserted, so why your bringing that up I have no idea.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I brought it up in response to YOUR post in which YOU attempted to imply Bergdahl was guilty of a crime, and you knew that. But thanks for playing obtuse!

    August 19, 2014 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. Mozambique Drill

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – Take Back the House
    Does Willard have an opinion about what's going on Ferguson? He's quick to weigh in on everything else. Since he did so badly among African Americans, Latin Americans and women in his last election, it would behoove him to state his opinion rather than be mum on the issue.
    ********************
    Ferguson is a sideshow that is enabling all of the race hustlers to justify their miserable existence. Once again, the usual vultures show up to to take advantage of a local crime incident. Obama and his administration had better get their mind on the really important stuff like Ukraine, ISIS/Iraq/Syria, Afghanistan, etc..

    August 19, 2014 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. Malroy Archer

    bill

    This should fire up the obamabots. Start the name calling–3-2-1

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    This must be the very first article you've EVER read on CNN's political site. Otherwise you would have noticed how many more sore loser rethugs name call EVERY SINGLE Dem and other posters, and even hijack other posters' handles in order to post their inane venom. We dems are mild compared to the sore loser rethugs. Anyhoo – welcome!

    BTW, I'm not in the habit of name-calling, but YOU on CLEARLY the VERY FIRST POST YOU EVER MADE ON CNN busted out with the name-calling, so I responded in kind.

    August 19, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. 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?

    August 19, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. ritmocojo

    Republicans just can't seem to learn from anything. Who's next? Clint Eastwood with the empty chair gimmick? How about just the empty suit that Mittens is?

    August 19, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP THE NATIONAL JOKE PARTY , WE WONT PASS ANYTHING AND STILLGET PAID

    Just what the GOP needs, an endorsement from a FIVE TIME LOSER for elected office. Even with his help I will vote AGAINEST ALL GOP canadates in November . We don't new to support GOP incompetence in OUR goverment. YOU have done NOTHING for any of us for six years except wast taxpayers money with your FAIRYTALE ISSA investigations and BS. Expect to LOSE in November GOP!!!!!!!!!

    August 19, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  16. Gurgyl

    --didn't NY Times guy by name Nate silver predicted, he lose 335/104 electoral votes? So, he lost big, why this man with 47 percent I even in picture. He is as good as me. Isn't it? America, you drive these rethuglicans away for god sake, for good. God bless. These are crooks.

    August 19, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. Tone

    Republitards are taking chances putting this guy on the trail he will only support losers. My prediction is every gop candidate he campaigns for will lose come 2014.

    August 19, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. sonny chapman

    We know he's popular with 47 % of the folks.

    August 19, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Longtimer

    Kind of sad when their insanely rich, three-time loser is the go-to guy on the campaign trail. The GOP better get used to losing in '16 if this is their best in action (maybe that should be inaction!).
    -----------------------
    Romney is the Trojan Horse. I strongly suspect that the strategy will be to "listen to Mitt", who will come across as moderate and reasonable, in order to attract moderate voters.

    August 19, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. Boo

    The great panderer...next...

    August 19, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  21. MaryM

    That's right repubs, bring back the loser, Mitt . While you are at it why not bring back your buddies Bush and Darth Cheney also.

    August 19, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Malroy Archer

    bill

    This should fire up the obamabots. Start the name calling–3-2-1

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    This must be the very first article you've EVER read on CNN's political site. Otherwise you would have noticed how many more sore loser rethugs name call EVERY SINGLE Dem and other posters, and even hijack other posters' handles in order to post their inane venom. We dems are mild compared to the sore loser rethugs. Anyhoo – welcome!

    BTW, I'm not in the habit of name-calling, but YOU on CLEARLY the VERY FIRST POST YOU EVER MADE ON CNN busted out with the name-calling, so I responded in kind.
    ---------------------------------
    Speaking of name hijacking, check out this other post by "bill" on the other thread.

    "bill

    @ just asking. Good point, but the 'gang' is not smart enough to figure that out."

    Isn't it kind of odd that the first post from "bill" is blasting the 'gang'?

    August 19, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Tone

    Republitards are taking chances putting this guy on the trail he will only support losers. My prediction is every gop candidate he campaigns for will lose come 2014.
    ----------------------
    I have to strongly disagree. Mitt Romney will never run for office again, so he can say anything he wants. Mitt can and will become the moderate voice and face of the Republican Party to attract moderate voters. It's the old bait and switch.

    August 19, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    I couldn't agree more Rudy. His is the face they'll trot out to the public but behind the scenes.... Watch out!

    August 19, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. Say WHAT???

    You know your country is heading down hill and into the gutter when it elects a proven failure again instead of a proven winner and successful person.

    August 19, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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