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After that long-ago highway collision when he was a young missionary serving in
Now he is determined to do that for himself. (And his country, he would say.)
“I’ve never seen an enterprise in more desperate need of a turnaround than the U.S. government,” Romney says.
An also-ran to
With his good looks, able fundraising, strong political organization, solid family and business acumen, Romney sounds like a candidate ordered from central casting to run in a time of economic stress.
But to succeed where he failed four years ago, Romney, 64, will need to convince voters that behind the picture-perfect presentation lurks a human being with a passion to lead and an unshakeable set of convictions.
The rap against Romney in 2008 was that he’d conveniently reinvented himself to fit the political environment of the day. The man who’d governed
And that set off authenticity alarm bells with voters around the country. Pundits who thought his Mormon faith might be a problem for him concluded his changing political convictions probably caused him more grief.
This time around, Romney hopes the campaign for the
Over the past four years, he wrote a book, “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness,” built a political machine and cultivated diverse friends.
The dust had hardly settled on the bruising nomination struggle of 2008 when Romney threw himself behind the candidate who had defeated him, began raising money for Republicans across the country and started pushing all the right buttons in the party.
Watching this unfold, Republican strategist
If only he could get “Romneycare” off his back.
The health care law he signed as governor has gone on to extend coverage to more than 98 percent of
The package’s stiff insurance mandate, its protections against losing coverage, penalties for noncompliance and subsidies for those needing help were largely embraced and adapted in President
At the moment, it’s hard to tell if Romney is proud of what he accomplished. “Some things worked, some didn’t, and some things I’d change,” he remarks now, somewhat defensively. He says his measures were not a federal mandate on all states, a fundamental difference that still does not erase the fact that government made the rules and diverted the tax dollars to make the changes happen.
He tackled this conundrum head on in a half-hour talk and slide show in
“A lot of pundits around the nation are saying that I should just stand up and say this whole thing was a mistake, that it was just a boneheaded idea and I should just admit it,” Romney said then. “There’s only one problem with that: It wouldn’t be honest. I, in fact, did what I believe was right for the people of my state.”
The speech was largely a bust with conservatives, although it appears not to have knocked him down many pegs. In any event, his book lays out different, safely Republican ideas about how to fix the system. He calls it “free-market health care.” Expect to hear a lot about that in the
He worked for
It’s just the resume the country needs, says Romney, who calls Obama “one of the most ineffective presidents” he’s ever seen.
“What I know and what I’ve spent my life doing is particularly relevant right now,” he said last weekend in
Romney took on Democratic Sen.
Romney cemented his reputation as a turnaround artist when he stepped in to clean up the 2002 Winter Olympics in
That made it a ripe time to reawaken his political ambition. Republicans recruited him to run for governor in deeply Democratic
The combination of fiscally conservative and socially moderate policies he brought to that race proved a winning formula in the state, but complicated the 2008 primaries, which are dominated by conservative voters. His challenge then remains his challenge now on the road to 2012.