Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

A third Mitt Romney run seen as 'far-fetched'

By Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News

Published: Mon, May 5 6:35 p.m. MDT

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A "Draft Mitt" booth was set up at the April 26, 2014, Republican state convention, held at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy.

(Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new "Draft Mitt" movement being organized in Utah to recruit the former GOP nominee into making a third run for president in 2016 was labeled a longshot Monday by political observers.

"It's far-fetched," University of New Hampshire political science professor Dante Scala said of the likelihood that Mitt Romney could be talked into another try at the White House. "I think Mitt's too smart to buy that."

But Brett Nielsen and others in Utah, including state GOP Chairman James Evans, hope to put together a strong enough case that Romney won't be able to say no to getting into the race.

"He's been pretty adamant he's not going to run again," said Nielsen, a vice president of an online marketing company who worked on Romney's 2012 campaign. "I don't know if there's anything appealing about this to him right now."

What could change Romney's mind, Nielsen said, is a strong show of support from voters who realize they should have paid more attention to Romney's pronouncements on Russia and other issues.

"He was right about a lot of things," Nielsen said.

While there's a petition online at draftmitt.org, Nielsen said the group is just starting to look at what it's going to take to convince Romney he's still the right man for the job.

"Probably sometime in early July, maybe late June, we'll have a better idea," Nielson said. "Right now, it's just some phone calls and some emails. There's just not much to say yet."

Scala said New Hampshire voters have already moved on, even though they may look back on Romney fondly after giving him a win in 2012 in what is traditionally the nation's first presidential primary.

"Typically, activists up here are looking to the next thing, what's the new thing in American politics. They're also looking for a winner in 2016," Scala said. "And Mitt does not fit either of those categories."

In another early voting state, South Carolina, Clemson University pollster Dave Woodard is getting ready to ask voters there to pick from among potential GOP contenders in the next presidential race.

"There's no room for Mitt," Woodard said, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on the list of choices.

Romney lost to former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich in a bitterly contested primary in South Carolina in 2012 and didn't even compete in 2008 in what is traditionally the first Southern state to vote in a presidential race.

"I don't think South Carolina is too much enamored with Mitt," Woodard said. "He's kind of old-hat. They keep thinking there is some brighter, fresher alternative. … What's he have this time that he didn't have last time?"

Matthew Wilson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, said Romney has been "tremendously vindicated" for raising concerns about Russia during the 2012 campaign.

"That may be fanning the flames," Wilson said, but that's not likely to be enough to overcome being seen as a political retread.

"There are reasons to think he could be viable again, but there is a very, very strong sentiment in political parties to go with a fresh face rather than someone who has failed," Wilson said.

Even one of Romney's top surrogates on the 2012 campaign trail, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, was skeptical about the impact of the Draft Mitt effort.

"I wonder how many signatures it would take to convince him to jump back in. There's no question Utah's behind Mitt. The question is: Is Ohio?" Chaffetz said. "I still maintain he'd be an effective and professional president, but he lost."

Email: lisa@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsPolitics

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Is Mitt Romney more relevant than ever?

Bethan Owen
May 22, 2014
1. Wiaz
scottsdale , AZ,
May 5, 2014

Didn't Romney embarrass himself enough in 2012? Well Hillary will trounce him

2. Brent T. Aurora CO
Aurora, CO,
May 5, 2014

Let's see -- not trounced in 2012, appears correct in light of foreign policy gaffes during and since his defeat, Affordable Healthcare Act repercussions have been significant, post-election popularity has remained steady or gained (especially in people realizing he really is a good person; it wasn't spin), people feel he can be trusted, we're due for party to change at the top... If he has good ideas for current foreign affairs issues and a plan to clean-up the Obamacare mess... yeah, he could give Hilary a good run.

Basically, nothing has tarnished him since. And yes, there are good number people who voted for Obama in 2012 that have second guessed themselves.

He should avoid the circus of last time and not burn himself up in the GOP Primary... let a primary be about who besides him should run, squabbling amongst themselves... if he declares, he would already be the front runner.

3. I M LDS 2
Provo, UT,
May 5, 2014

As a lifelong member of the GOP who voted for Obama because my Party didny offer anyone worth voting for the past two Presidential elections, If I had to choose from among Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, or Mitt Romney, I would choose Romney.

But what is this nonsense about Mitt being "right about Russia"? Mitt never warned that Ukraine would be embroiled in a civil war. Mitt didn't predict anything. All he said was that Russia and Putin are our "geopolitical foe".

4. The Rock
Federal Way, WA,
May 5, 2014

I personally think that Romney would have made a fantastic President. We are in a world of hurt when it comes to the economy. Who better than Mitt to fix it?
Who could create jobs better?
Mitt's experience with the Olympics allowed him to rub shoulders with world leaders.
He lived in Europe for two years and learned to speak French.
He has conducted business around the world.
He is smart enough to hire talent when he is not an expert on something.

That said; there is one sad fact, that as a member of the LDS church bothers me. Over 20% of the population would never vote for a Mormon. That would probably doom and attempt to run again.

Mitt, love ya, but please don't run.

5. 79Ute
Orange County, CA,
May 5, 2014

Romney didn't say Russia was our foe, he said they were our #1 geopolitical threat. Has that not been shown to be true?

Obama successfully mocked Romney in the debate to the disadvantage of the USA. In real life, Putin has successfully mocked Obama and NATO countries, repeatedly, to the disadvantage of Ukraine.

Have you read the news breaking on Forbes tonight about the Crimean election sham? After the "election" scheduled in eastern Ukraine on 5/11 to annex eastern Ukraine, where will Putin hold the next "election"? Latvia? And after that?

The problem isn't just that Ukraine is embroiled in civil war that Romney didn't specifically predict, the problem is Putin's imperial dream - our #1 geopolitical threat just as Romney stated. Ukraine is a subset of that threat.

Putin is taking advantage of our president and his meaningless red lines and lines drawn in the sand while the country keeps its head in the sand.