Monday, October 16, 2006

A British View of Mitt Romney

Sometimes it seems that to get fresh insights we need to go "across the pond." The latest evidence of that is Sarah Baxter's piece in today's London Sunday Times. Baxter reports the following nuggets about Mitt Romney:

1. The Governor has some real political genius in him. If you've ever listened to the Laura Ingraham radio show, you know how crazy she is about her dog Troy. You probably also know that Troy went missing a few weeks ago. Romney saw opportunity:
Laura Ingraham, the popular conservative talk show host, recalled how the smooth Romney had rung to sympathise after she announced that her dog Troy had gone missing. “He’s the man,” she said approvingly.
2. Romney has a new comeback on the religion question, or at least one I haven't heard yet:

Romney, who already has a fan club called Evangelicals for Mitt, thinks the religious issue will fizzle. “People used to wonder whether a divorced actor could be elected,” he said, referring to Ronald Reagan, “or whether a Mormon could win Massachusetts, a state that is 55% Catholic.

“There was probably a time when people cared which church you went to, but that’s past. People today look to see a person’s faith in the way they live in their home with their family."

3. Romney met with Baroness Margaret Thatcher last month at

"a Washington think tank. . . . If not quite an official anointing, the handshake and chat with so venerable a figure was an unmistakable sign to conservatives that he was 'one of us.'”

4. The governor has a comeback for comments about his unusually good looks:

Romney looks like a taller version of Martin Sheen in The West Wing, has been married to his high school sweetheart for 37 years and has five photogenic children. At 59 he is no youngster but is frequently ribbed about his film star appearance. “My wife and I know better. She’s the one with the looks in the family,” he remarked.

5. He is becoming bolder about establishing a little distance between himself and President Bush on Iraq:

He has spent time recently with Paul Bremer, the former head of the provisional coalition authority, and other Iraq experts. Mistakes were made, he freely admitted, but the Iraqi government had to be given more time to establish security.

“When that is achieved” — he did not say by 2008, but he must be hoping — “there will be a relatively rapid withdrawal.”

That last position will be interesting to watch.

Update: For more on Romney's very latest activities, Article 6 Blog has a news roundup here and commentary here.


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