Mitt Romney is definitely not…well, probably not–er, possibly? running for President.
Just ask Romney confident and almost son, Spencer Zwick, who commented on a Draft Mitt organization that was slated to launch August 1:
This organization has absolutely no bearing on Mitt Romney running for president. He says he’s not running for president and nothing this organization can do will change that.
Do you hear that? Mitt’s out, folks. He’s definitely, positively, most assuredly, probably not, but maybe there’s still a chance, not running for President. Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle…well, you know.
So stop asking him to run. I mean, for heaven’s sake: the Democrat’s presumptive nominee–Hillary Clinton–hasn’t even declared, yet, and until she has finished her book tour raked in a few more million in speaking fees recovered from being “dead broke“ stated her intentions, it’s insane to expect Mitt to share his, either.
And let’s be honest: why would Mitt run? That’d be crazy, right? Right?
Or is there some wink, wink, nod, nod going on here?
Because while Zwick is telling the Deseret News that Mitt’s out, he’s wasting no time in touting his second dad to the Washington Post.
“Democrats don’t want to be associated with Barack Obama right now, but Republicans are dying to be associated with Mitt Romney,” said Spencer Zwick, a longtime Romney confidant who chaired his national finance council. He added: “Candidates, campaigns and donors in competitive races are calling saying, ‘Can we get Mitt here?’ They say, ‘We’ve looked at the polling, and Mitt Romney moves the needle for us.’ That’s somewhat unexpected for someone who lost the election.”
And a good indicator of someone who can move the needle again.
Here are 7 signs that Mitt’s definitely and positively not, probably, but maybe is, thing about running for President. Again.
Mitt is on the 2014 Primary Circuit.
As of June 6, Mitt had endorsed 33 candidates in their Primaries, all of which won. This week he’s made stops in West Virginia with Rep. Shelly Moore Capito (R); North Carolina with state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R); and in Arkansas for gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson (R). Lest you forget, this is not unlike what Mitt did in the run up to 2012, travelling the country helping candidates and picking winners.
Mitt is Hanging with Paul Ryan.
Ostensibly, Romney showed up at the Union League Club of Chicago yesterday to interview Paul Ryan about his forthcoming book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea. Denying he was going to run again, Romney teased Ryan that he should run. However, it was the optics that stuck out. How often do running mates appear side by side after losing the campaign? Can anyone find a picture of McCain and Palin in the same frame? And what does appearing side by side evoke if not memories of the campaign and what might have been? And what might still be? If politics is as much about stage craft as it is about substance, then this could be an opening act.
In any case, Ryan supports the idea. “I sure wish he would,” the Republican House Budget Committee chairman and former vice presidential nominee said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I think he’d make a phenomenal president. He has the intellect, the honor, the character and the temperament to be a fantastic president. … But he keeps saying that he’s not going to run.”
Mitt Took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
First Ryan dumped a buck of ice water over Mitt’s head–still in his suit, no less–and then Ann Romney wife totally showed him up when she answered Mitt’s challenge with a what looked like a full garbage can of ice water. It may not get the play that Chris Pratt’s ALS ice bucket challenge did, but then Mitt’s not Star-Lord, either. What he is doing, though, is connecting with a popular trend and giving to charity. (The haters and hipsters can say what they want about the irony of the ice bucket challenge, but the challenge has raised $41.8M in comparison to the $2.1M it raised in the same time last year.) Again, the optics are great: giving to charity, playing along with a fun trend like average Americans, and “help from one of [Mitt’s] friends,” Ryan.
Also: in a suit? What is it made of? Neoprene?
Mitt is the Hipster Foreign, Budget, and Immigration Policy Candidate
Before Putin proved that Russia is still arguably the United States’ greatest geopolitical foe, Romney took flack from Obama with a highly publicized zinger about the 1980s wanting its foreign policy back. It played well to the press at the moment, but time has since vindicated Romney, and Mitt has not been shy to note Obama’s and Hillary’s foreign policy problems. It won’t be long before we start seeing polls asking Americans who they trust more on foreign policy: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Mitt Romney.
But wait, there’s more! Mitt was the voice of warning, Cassandra-like, on immigration reform, the budget, and on Iraq, too. Despite the shift in focus this week to Ferguson, MO, the southern border remains a problem, the budget is heading towards another government shutdown show down, and Iraq is torn by war and ISIS.
Mitt is a Popular Guy
Sure, he lost in 2012. But have you seen the competition? A Zogby poll this week, and Mitt was far and away the leading contender for the 2016 Republican Nomination…and he’s not even interested. Mostly.
Romney places first in the 2016 race for the nomination with 20%, followed by New jersey Governor Chris Christie 12%, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul 11%, Texas Senator Ted Cruz 9%, former Arkansas Governor and Fox News host Mike Huckabee 8%, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush 6%, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker 4%, Florida Senator Marco Rubio 4%, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindahl 3%, New Mexico Governor Suzanna Martinez 1%, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley 1%, Ohio Governor John Kasich .3%, and Ohio Senator Rob Portman at 0. Three percent selected the “Other Candidate” category and 17% were not sure.
In other words, it’s Mitt in first with 20%, followed by 17% for “were not sure,” and then Chris Christie–whose scandals are going to keep him out of the race in the long-term–with 12%. Next are the libertarians Paul and Cruz, who together have 20%, but who shut down the government in 2013, a move that’ll hurt them in a general election. Yes, it’s still too early to let polls matter, but let’s be honest: 20% is hard to ignore.
Mitt is Down to Earth
While President Obama can’t inspire even Ezra Klein anymore, Netflix released the documentary “MITT,” showing a side of Romney that many supporters would have loved to have out before the election was over. Rather than the stiff, wooden, rich guy the press portrayed, we saw him as “a selfless, loving father and husband who’s down-to-earth, self-effacing and even funny,” as one reviewer put it. At one point, Mitt the candidate notes that “I’m standing on [my father’s] shoulders… He’s the real deal,” he said. “I started where he ended up. I started off with money and education and Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School.”
That’s a level of humility and candor that no one saw on the campaign and is rare among the rich and powerful. The result? He’s a lot more likable than in 2012. A teetotaler, he may not be the guy you get beer with, but you might go to his barbecue.
Mitt has Caught Up with Family
While the Beltway has suffered through another hot and humid and unproductive summer, Mitt was out traipsing around southern Utah with teenagers (a feat in itself). Now that he’s rested up, made up for lost time with his kids and grandkids, he’s ready to take on a challenge…and that challenge might just be the candidacy for the White House.
Previously posted at Publius Online.