October 29, 2012


Late moderate turn carrying Mitt Romney far (Matt Viser, 10/29/12, Boston GLOBE)

If Romney's campaign comeback can be boiled down to one moment, it was on Oct. 3 during the first debate in Denver, after he walked on stage and began speaking in a new way. He was measured, he made a joke, he spoke in soothing tones about two women who were struggling economically -- "obviously," he said, "a very tender topic."

Romney's campaign recognized the importance of being able to reintroduce himself to 70 million viewers in the first debate, and he adopted an approach that was more moderate than any he had employed during the six years he had spent pursuing the Republican presidential nomination.

The shift contained echoes of the centrist version of Mitt Romney who ran for Senate against Edward M. Kennedy in 1994, and the former governor who won office in liberal Massachusetts by running in the middle in 2002.

Romney and his advisers seemed to bet that many in the audience would be viewing him for the first time, that they would be unaware that he called himself "severely conservative" during the primary, that he espoused a policy of "self-deportation" to reduce illegal immigration, or of his comment disparaging 47 percent of the country for considering themselves "victims" dependent on government aid.

"There was a presumption that he'd have a lot of baggage," Fowler said. "But the audience that he's trying to woo is looking at him for the first time." [...]

In recent weeks, Romney has softened his rhetoric on a wide range of issues, including abortion, access to contraceptives, immigration, Afghanistan, and Middle East peace. [...]

Romney's modulation should not have been entirely unexpected.

His campaign suggested in March that he would move to the middle to appeal to a general election audience, when Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom predicted an "Etch A Sketch" moment after Romney won the nomination, in which the candidate would redraw his political profile.

...is how much money Team Unicorn wasted on trying to make Bain Capital an issue when no one was paying any attention to the race.  

Posted by at October 29, 2012 5:01 AM

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