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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Romney: the 2008 and 2012 Models

At RealClearPolitics, Erin McPike and Carl M. Cannon report:

Insanity, Rita Mae Brown once wrote, is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. Although Romney is certainly ambitious, nobody has ever called him insane. And before he takes on President Obama -- and even before he can vanquish a restive and rowdy field of fellow Republicans -- the Mitt Romney of 2012 must vanquish the Mitt Romney of 2008.

Four years ago, Romney was nothing if not accessible to the press, and he often took questions twice a day. This summer, he's treating reporters as though they have an unpleasant social disease.

In the previous campaign, former Romney aides say (only half-jokingly), their plan was to sink money into straw polls -- like the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames -- so that they could effectively buy an organizational victory to show strength. He won the straw poll but lost the Iowa caucuses. Romney, a business consultant by trade, doesn't plan to waste money organizing for the straw poll again.

In 2007-2008, Romney took up hard-line immigration reform as a pet issue -- among many such stances he used in hopes of convincing grass-roots conservatives that he was one of them. This time around, Romney is focusing on one big-picture issue of interest to conservatives, moderates and liberals alike: job creation and the federal role in guiding the U.S. economy.

At this point in his last race, Romney was already pouring money into advertising on TV in the early nominating states. Now he's letting inexpensive web videos do the talking.

Finally, four years ago, Romney came out swinging against his fellow GOPers, running early and very negative ads attacking his rivals for positions that he had -- until very recently -- espoused himself. To say that this didn't endear him to the rest of the Republican field is an understatement. So far this year, Romney's approach to his competition for the GOP nomination has ranged from disinterest to graciousness.