Archive for the ‘Mitt Romney’ Category

Romney in Michigan

January 16, 2008

Now that Mitt Romney has won Michigan, it’s worth noting what I said after a reporting trip to the state 15 months ago. “Mitt Romney, the governor of Massachusetts, grew up in Michigan and is the son of a former governor and auto executive, George Romney. The bulk of Mr. Romney’s experience prior to serving as governor was as a venture capitalist with Bain Capital, where he gained a reputation as a turnaround artist. His name for president is on the lips of Democrats and Republicans at the Cider Mill. ‘He’s impressed me,’ says Mr. Halley, who supported George Romney in the 1960s. The Strategic Vision poll puts Senator McCain (39%), Mayor Giuliani (25%), and Governor Romney (15%) atop the Republican field and Mrs. Clinton (30%) and Vice President Gore (22%) atop the Democratic one. Whatever the polls say now, an opening exists for the candidate who can address the economic disquiet in the industrial Midwest.”

Read more here.

Road After NH Primary

January 9, 2008

I spotted an ebullient Senator Lindsey Graham in the lobby of the Nashua Crown Plaza last night where John McCain was holding his election night fete. I wanted some insight about the race moving into South Carolina, and Graham agreed to speak with me. He motioned me to sit with him in one of two adjacent chairs, the kind that Middle Eastern kings and “presidents” sit in when visited by foreign diplomats. Graham was charming gracious with me and the scores of reporters calling his blackberry. 

He mapped out McCain’s strategy in South Carolina post New Hampshire, explaining that McCain had won the support of the state’s head of the National Guard, an elected position in the state. Understand this. There is a two star general in South Carolina, who needs to run for reelection. This general has endorsed McCain and will use his political organization on McCain’s behalf. “John uses the words ‘win’ and ‘victory,'” Mr. Graham, who described Mr. McCain as a Reaganite figure who could weave the Republican coalition back together, said. “John is the soldier’s candidate.”

Also interesting was what Patrick Buchanan told me about Rudolph Giuliani’s novel strategy of foregoing early contests to focus on Florida and the February 5 states. “You’re going to go 0 for 4 and win the thing?” Buchanan asked. “If he were my strategist, he’d be sleeping with the fishes,” he added.

Read more here.

NH Republican Primary: Could be a good night for McCain

January 9, 2008

I’m not going to report numbers I’m hearing from campaigns. But I think I can say this: It could be a very good night for McCain and not so good for Romney.

Romney’s Pugnacity

January 6, 2008

I’ve got to give Romney credit for fighting ferociously tonight. He’s smart, and he’s not giving an inch. There’s no question that Romney’s shifting positions over the years have hurt him in this race. But it’s interesting that he’s unafraid to hammer away at his foes. I suppose his thinking is that if he is going down, he’ll go down battling. 

WMUR-ABC Republican Debate

January 6, 2008

Thirty minutes into the Republican debate from St. Anselm College, I have the following observations:

• They all look tired. I am surprised by how fatigued Mitt Romney looks.

• The question on whether each candidate would follow President Bush’s foreign policy seemed to put the candidates on their heels. So did the use of video and sound from President Bush. The last things these guys want is to be lumped in with Bush.

• On the substance, I thought the responses of Giuliani, McCain, Thompson and Romney on the danger of terrorism were all solid. It was interesting to see Romney reach for some foreign policy substance by invoking specific Islamist clerics. Politically, however, Huckabee had the best comment, saying he’s “not running for George Bush’s third term.”

• Given the level of scrutiny on Huckabee’s past critiques of Bush’s foreign policy, I have to note that I was the first columnist to examine his statements in this area. I wrote: “Quick to personify nations while talking about international relations, at times he sounds like he is channeling a European member of the Green Party.”

Iowa Caucus Day

January 3, 2008

While my expertise is New Hampshire, I’ve been doing this long enough to make a couple of observations about Iowa. Given the vagaries of the caucus process, my sense is still that John Edwards will perform better than expectations. Remember he came in second last time and his organization has worked hard to make itself the second choice of the supporters of the lesser candidates.

The Biden Campaign is denying that it has made any deals with other candidates. Says Biden’s Iowa State Director, Danny O’Brien: “There are no discussions underway and there will be no deal with any campaign. We believe Sen. Biden is strong enough on his own. Everyone knows that Sen. Biden is a popular second choice for the supporters of all the other campaigns. We remain confident that Sen. Biden will surprise folks this evening.”

As for Hillary Clinton, her success hinges on the size of the electorate. If there are many new participants in the caucus process, she loses. But if the excitement around Barack Obama is great enough and if the energy coming from the far left is as strong as it seems, tonight could be a very long night for her. My guess is that her team has identified most of the die-hard participants, the people you need to win a caucus in a normal year. The big question is, is this a normal year?

I’m less interested in the Republican side in Iowa. The uptick in support for Mike Huckabee baffles me as did the margin of victory for George W. Bush in 2004. Both cases seem to reflect the strength of religious and values voters within the GOP — at the expense of other concerns. With John McCain and Rudy Giuliani both having opted out of Iowa and Huckabee — to me — not having legs, I just can’t see this contest being as determinative on the Republican side. That said, if Mitt Romney can win big there, I do expect him to benefit from a slingshot effect into New Hampshire.

A final thought: a string of Massachusetts politicians have profited thanks to their proximity to New Hampshire — Michael Dukakis, Paul Tsongas, John Kerry. In Romney’s case, the phenomena appears to be working in reverse. The more New Hampshire voters get exposed to Romney, the less they like him. I believe this is directly linked to the fact that the persona Romney has forged as a presidential candidate is so different to the one he demonstrated as a governor. In most cases, this wouldn’t matter. But New Hampshire voters got a close look at Romney in 1994 when he ran against Ted Kennedy and again from 2002 until 2006. So for him, the usual proximity advantage is actually a disadvantage.

I’ll post again later tonight.

George Romney and MLK

December 21, 2007

Hats off to David Bernstein for his scoop that George Romney, contrary to the assertion of his presidential candidate son, never marched with Martin Luther King. It’s not often that The Boston Globe credits The Phoenix with a story, but it’s exactly what Michael Levenson does in his story today: “Romney’s account of his father marching with King was first challenged this week by the Boston Phoenix and then yesterday by the Detroit Free Press, each of which reported they could find no news accounts or other evidence that George Romney and King marched together.”

BTW, Peter Kadzis made a rare foray into writing instead of editing or appearing on t.v. His take on Dapper O’Neil reflects his deep knowledge of Boston politics. I like this line which put the city councillor into national and historical context, “O’Neil was one of a gang of politicians who played the roles of brevet-rank George Wallaces.”

Romney’s Religion Speech

December 6, 2007

I’m watching Mitt Romney’s heralded “Faith in America” speech on CNN right now and have some comments. I’ve been watching Romney since 2002, and I’ve never seen him as keyed up as this. He seems nervous, breathing heavily at the start, and too hot for t.v., which for Romney, whose usual persona is that of a slick anchorman, is a big deal. That suggests he’s doing something against his own instincts. So from his advisers’ standpoint, it better work.

For me, the key passage is this: “Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin.”It goes far enough for me, although I’m not convinced it will be enough for him to win over Evangelicals already hesitant about backing a Mormon.

New Hampshire Primary and World Series

October 22, 2007

Attention Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Here’s a potentially profitable idea for you.

The best investment any political candidate could make right now would to buy local time on Fox-25, the Murdoch-owned station that has the New England broadcast rights to the Boston Red Sox-Colorado Rockies World Series.

Never before has the New Hampshire primary so close to a Red Sox World Series appearance. The first two games will have huge viewership throughout the Granite State. If candidates want to make sure that New Hamsphire voters get their message, there’s no better buy than Red Sox time.

Craig: Romney Threw Me Under the Bus

October 15, 2007

It’s finally happened. A Republican senator has accused Romney of throwing him under the bus.

I’ve been fascinated with the entrance of the phrase “thrown under the bus” ever since 2003 when I began hearing it around City Hall and on sports radio all the time. Here’s what Larry Craig has to say about Mitt Romney: “He not only threw me under his campaign bus, he backed up and ran over me again.”

From a political perspective, Romney did exactly the right thing. Candidates have to distance themselves from scandal-clouded supporters. Unfortunately for Romney his quick distancing himself from Craig does reinforce the perception of the candidate that he is a bit too slick.

My analyis: Romney did the right thing. But the worst thing a candidate can have is a high profile former supporter badmouthing you on the Today Show.