October 19, 2012


Behind Closed Doors, Romney at Peace as Vote Nears (Scott Conroy, October 18, 2012, Real Clear Politics)

"A couple weeks ago, everybody was talking about the campaign in such negative terms, and I think in many ways that totally clarified for the governor why he was running and what was at stake and the importance of the election," Madden said. "It really focused him. It really did."

Madden said that Romney has "found real comfort" in his political career's rapidly approaching D-Day, and has conveyed privately that he is now considering more seriously the tall task that will greet him should everything goes as hoped for on Election Day.

"He seems to be more inclined to think about how he's going to govern," Madden said. "He has said in some conversations that he recognizes what an enormous challenge it's going to be because it is going to be a very close election, and he sort of welcomes that."

Romney advisers emphasized that the GOP standard-bearer is by nature too disciplined and focused to dwell at length on his potential transition into the White House. But several added that Romney has been buoyed visibly by the palpable surge in enthusiasm surrounding his campaign the last couple of weeks.

The former Massachusetts governor was able to secure his party's nomination in no small part because he convinced enough Republican partisans that he is the candidate best able to defeat President Obama, even if he wasn't able to elicit the loudest cheers from supporters.

But now Romney is being greeted regularly by crowds that are both large and boisterous. Senior adviser Ron Kaufman traveled regularly with the candidate four years ago when Romney typically held four or five events a day but rarely drew more than a couple hundred people to them. That sleepy dynamic has changed dramatically, and the new one is rubbing off on Romney's psyche.

"I've never seen a Republican candidate -- even an incumbent, other than Reagan -- getting the crowds that Mitt's getting today," Kaufman said. "We were in Ohio last weekend and literally, over three days, every crowd was 8-, 9-, 10,000 people. It pumps you up, you know."

It is a political cliché that every campaign is a reflection of the candidate, but the sense of calm optimism is indeed seen in those who surround Romney. The members of his inner circle acknowledge that the race is essentially a tossup according to the polls, but each of them is buoyed by their faith in Romney's ability to pull it out in the end.

It's a special moment in a campaign when you reach that point of peace.
Posted by at October 19, 2012 5:17 AM

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