Skip to comments.Romney is getting ready for '08
Posted on 06/16/2005 4:42:31 AM PDT by Molly Pitcher
PONTIAC, Mich. -- Any real doubt that Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination should have been resolved by his performance Monday in suburban Oakland County, Mich. He did not merely drop into his native state for a political fund-raising speech. He spent a 12-hour candidate's day working a key presidential primary state.
Romney's public exposure was less than two hours at the Marriott Hotel in Pontiac for the 13th annual event sponsored by Rep. Joe Knollenberg. But in closed-door meetings starting at 8 a.m., he conferred with Republican politicians and donors. Although Romney sought no commitments and made no promises of his candidacy, the assumption by everybody here is that he will not seek re-election as governor in 2006.
Indeed, Romney's preparation for 2008 is more advanced than any of his potential Republican rivals. While he recently spoke in his neighboring state of New Hampshire, Romney's Commonwealth fund has raised and distributed $225,000, concentrated in three early primary states: Iowa, South Carolina and Michigan.
This early campaign is being put together by famed political consultant Mike Murphy, who is California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's closest political adviser and who worked for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign in 2000. Trent Wisecup, a partner in Murphy's firm, arranged Monday's schedule. Wisecup and Murphy, both Michigan natives, were in the audience at the Marriott.
Romney began his long day over breakfast with Ed Levy, a nationally known leader in the Jewish community. That was followed by meetings with Romney's older brother, Scott, a prominent Michigan Republican, and builder John Rakolta, a major party contributor. He met some 20 Republicans for lunch and in the afternoon, including Dick DeVos (of the Amway family), the probable Republican nominee for governor. Romney talked about the need to elect DeVos and Republican candidates for governor elsewhere in '06, and the Republicans expressed fear of Hillary Clinton in '08.
Michigan is central to Romney's presidential hopes. It has been 36 years since George Romney, his father, served three terms as governor of Michigan, and the name is no longer familiar in the state. Mitt left Michigan at age 18 to attend Brigham Young University and has never lived here since. But Romney has made several political visits to the state, including three days starting last Saturday with his 40th class reunion at the elite Cranbrook school in Oakland County.
Romney strategists would like Michigan's still-unscheduled presidential primary to come as early as possible in 2008 to give their man a boost. They support efforts by the state's party regulars to close the primary to non-Republicans, averting a repetition of McCain's 2000 Michigan primary win on the backs of Democratic and independent voters.
But the Romney team opposes Republican State Chairman Saul Anuzis' attempts to return to a caucus system, fearing that Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas could mobilize the same constituency that flocked to televangelist Pat Robertson in 1988.
For old-timers, Romney was reminiscent of his father's assaults on Big Labor and Big Business. Warning that the United States is facing stiff competition from China and India, he urged "our labor unions to recognize that we're in this together" and should work to "preserve the employers in the very country where they earn their living." At the same time, he admonished corporate CEOs "to be less concerned about their own compensation."
However, Mitt Romney lacks George Romney's bombast. Nor is he his liberal Republican father's son when it comes to ideology. In introducing Romney, pro-life stalwart Knollenberg noted that "this party is looking for a very conservative candidate." Romney responded with an agenda of tax reduction and slimmed-down spending and opposition to federally financed embryonic stem cell research and same-sex marriage. He wisecracked about the liberalism of Massachusetts, suggesting, "You need a passport" to enter Cambridge (home of Harvard).
Behind the scenes, Republican politicians ask each other the same question that went unanswered when George Romney sought the 1968 nomination: Can a Mormon be elected president of the United States? Nobody talks about it, as Mitt Romney meticulously prepares the field for 2008, but that potential bias is his one great liability as a presidential candidate.
A Romney running for President? I feel like I am in a time displacement...
Being from MA, maybe it's time for me to really get involved in this stuff! I love Romney.
"I feel like I am in a time displacement..."
You are. This is 64 and 76 all over again.The 08 debate will decide the future of the party,conservatism,and therefore the country.Are we conservatives or aren't we?
Romney may be the best that one could expect in MA, but I think the GOP can do better.
Adviser says governor faked stance on abortion- Asserts Romney not 'pro-choice'
As it stands today, I think the conservative position is stronger than it was in either '64 or '76. Of course, it isn't '08 yet, and things can change (if the libs get their way and manufacture another fear based "crises"), but while some things never change, our technology does, and the libs don't control the flow of information anymore...
Being in the south and knowing how important church is here, a Mormon can't win below the Mason Dixon. Call me bigoted if you will, but I know the Southern Baptist are a big block of voters here, and won't vote LDS.
Has Pence stated he's running? There hasn't been a President from the House since Van Buren I believe.
Conservatism may or may not be stronger now.Do we all have the same definition of conservatism? If we assume conservatism means the IMPERATIVE to shrink big government then conservatism is weaker now than ever.
No,He has said it is way to early for that.If he announces early that would affect his duties as RSC chairman and the cynics would question his every move(which are many) It is best to fly under the radar for now and build a base.Garfield and Lincoln both went from the house.
How could they vote for Hillary instead?
Bill was a Baptist right? No seriously, I doubt this Romney could get past South Carolina, just like McCain couldn't.
I wish former Senator Jesse Helms was young enough to run for President. You want a REAL conservative?
He's one of the few remaining.
Lincoln had not been in the House for over 15 years, and Garfireld was Speaker. Lincoln had the advantage of a FOUR way race that allowed him to win with 39% of the vote. We won't have that this time.
I like Pence, but of the papabile, I would go with Brownback, and then Allen.
Lincoln had not been in the House for 12 years, having just served the one term and not running for a 2nd. He was actually offered, but refused, the Governorship of the Oregon Territory. James Garfield never served as Speaker, though did serve in the House, but he was a Senator-elect when he took office as President.
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