Happy Birthday Mitt Romney! Governor Romney turns 60 on Monday!

Also out today is the new book from Hugh Hewitt. Here’s a a quick review:

You don’t need a taste for politics to devour this tome. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of inside baseball here – details to satisfy even the most politically addicted among us – but the layman will also appreciate this candid and fair examination of Governor Mitt Romney and his presidential aspirations.

From the meticulous picture of Romney’s Mother Lenore to the savvy analysis demonstrating the angst that many conservatives have towards John McCain, Hewitt weaves facts and insights in a way that is both sympathetic and honest. The picture that emerges is not the fainting, fawning, flush that some detractors predicted. Rather, the famous chiseled chin (which Hewitt admits will be used for and against Romney) comes even more clearly into relief; wrinkles and all. And, from the interviews in the book, this seems just fine with Mitt.

“Hang a lantern on your problems…” a maxim that Romney cites in the book seems a savvy approach to both business and politics. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, calls it “facing the brutal facts.” No doubt this was something that Romney practiced in the private sector. It’s also something that Hewitt employs throughout the book. Whether detailing the failures of George Romney’s presidential bid or handicapping the Mormon issue for Romney 2.0, Hewitt pulls no punches pressing sons, associates and political pundits about Mitt’s advantages and disadvantages in the 2008 race.

Admittedly, I’m a fan of Romney, but the book provided me with numerous angles and views I hadn’t considered before. For example, in my mind Romney has always stood solidly in the spotlight, always providing the solo with some ragtag chorus as backup. Hewitt brought into the foreground the interesting characters of Peter Flaherty, Kevin Madden, Spencer Zwick, and many others. In truth, what Hewitt shows, is that Romney is the man who brings the “team of rivals” together, constantly looking for people to challenge his assumptions and forge new ideas.

Hugh also handles the Mormon question extremely well. He provides both the pro-Mormon doctrinal viewpoint (from noted Mormon lawyer Rex E. Lee) and the detractors’ stance (from Walter Martin). Hewitt wisely leaves this doctrinal debate to the professionals but elucidates the constitutional precedent for disposing of denominational litmus tests pretty handily. The book also does a masterful job of defining what bigotry against Mormons really looks like.

Hewitt’s ultimate warning is this: “if because of his faith, he lost the Republican primaries to a less able candidate and that in turn led to the election if Hillary, the defeat of Romney on the grounds of his religious beliefs would be a great tragedy.” [page16].

In short, “A Mormon in the White House” is great read about a tremendous subject and a boon to the conservative movement in this challenging election season.

Toni Jennings on Romney

Former Lt. Governor of Florida Toni Jennings under Jeb Bush wrote a commentary in the Tampa Tribune on Romney today:

Last week, Mitt Romney traveled to Washington and dominated a conference of more than 5,000 conservative political leaders. It is no surprise that Gov. Romney had such success. He represents the best virtues of conservative thinking and leadership: He embraces innovation, optimism, transformation, and strength. I am proud to be the honorary chairwoman of his efforts in Florida as he campaigns for our nation’s highest office.

On the blogosphere many are trying to discount Romney’s CPAC showing (not just the poll). Yet clearly when the dust settles it will be remebered as an early victory for Romney.

Toni goes on,

Romney is a strong leader. At the Olympics in 2002, he turned around an organization mired in scandal and facing financial crisis, and the games were a dramatic success.

As chief executive of Massachusetts, he brought fiscal discipline back to the Statehouse while providing a responsible plan for every citizen to have health insurance.

Out of all the contendors in the field, I would say Romney is the strongest in terms of pure leadership abilities. McCain has never led anything, unless you count his gang of 14, and the effort to stifle grassroots organizations right to free speech. Rudy did do a great job with 9-11, I won’t deny it. But it’s safe to argue he just happened to be in the right place at the right time, it’s not like he had a choice in the matter. I guess he could have abdicated his office and ducked out, but that would have been an egregious sin, not the working standard among mayors. So his 9-11 mayoral experiece is a positive, but it’s not going to win him an election.

Romney, it should be noted, gave up a quite successful buisness to run the Olympics and he did it for free. Romney chose to fight for traditional marriage, something he easily could have backed off from. Romney chose to be proactive and work for Health Care reform and he chose to turn a 3 billion deificit into a 1 billion surplus without raising taxes. He chose to veto government waste over and over and he chose to veto over-the-counter abortives.

Toni wraps it up here:

I have been very fortunate to get to know Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, on a personal level. Mitt and Ann live their private lives in exactly the same way they live their public lives – with compassion, honesty, faithfulness, and an optimistic and hopeful belief in the strength of the American people.

Yes, well…I will keep my mouth shut here, but you can guess.

2008 Endorsements: Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani: Week ending 3/9/07

It is a fast and furious task to keep up the campaigns as the primary engines churn and the full-court press for good people, good donations, and good endorsements heats up.

Big stories with this update: John McCain takes the slight edge on congressional endorsements, Mitt Romney holds his lead on state specific and current/former elected officials. But Rudy is an enigma to me. My sources tell me his financing is going swimmingly but the local organizations are either still maturing or just not public. Granted he seems a bit late to the game. If you have any updates in this regard please pass them on.

The following chart includes federal, state or local current or former elected officials
Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani on endorsements

The following chart includes state specific leaders, including former or current local officials, party officials, and state activists.
Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani on endorsements

The following chart includes members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate
Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani on endorsements

The following chart includes all previous categories including finance-specific endorsements, other activists, and RNC members.
Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani on endorsements

Romney Wins Mindy Finn

Hey that rhymes! And it sound good to say it out loud too because Team Romney is coming together nicely!

Robert Bluey reports that Mindy Finn has accepted an offer from the Romney campaign to serve as Romney’s director of eStrategy.

I’ve met Mindy a few times. My sources tell me that she’s a dedicated worker who knows her eStuff.

MMM contacted Mindy just minutes ago. Her reaction?

“I’m excited to roll up my sleeves and start working for Mitt!”

Read the BlueyBlog for more details. I agree with Rob. The puzzle is almost complete!

Romney’s Favoribility Rising and Rudy’s is Dropping

The latest Gallup poll has some interesting conclusions from the pollsters:

Mitt Romney stands out as the candidate who is significantly less well known than the others. Over half of Republicans say they don’t know enough about Romney to be able to rate him. His image among those Republicans who do know him is quite positive. This suggests the possibility that if Romney maintains his net positive image among Republicans as the campaign progresses, he could be in a position to become more of a factor in the presidential nomination picture.

Both Romney’s overall likability numbers and likebilty numbers among Democrats have risen.

Yet his name recognition is still low, thus showing that Romney’s chance to define himself (as noted by Gallup) is still strong.

But the real story is shown among republican respondents to the poll, as reported at The Politico:

Favorable

Unfavorable

Net Change Since 2/11

Giuliani

78%

10%
-2

McCain

67%

19%

-1

Gov. Romney

37%

11%

+12

Gingrich

52%

30%

N/A

Wow! Romney’s likability among republicans has climbed nearly 12% Both Giuliani and McCain have dropped. It is starting to look like Romney’s showing at CPAC and his TV adds are paying off. I did a rather informal check on www.pollingreport.com and found that Romney has climbed an average among all the polls by 1 percent each month since December- 5%, 6% and 7% in February. So far the first few polls in March have Romney averaging 9%. These aren’t huge gains like Rudy’s, but with Romney’s favourability climbing and Rudy’s slipping, we are starting to see the kind of growth that Romney needs.

(First two graphics are courtesy of Gallup and the last one is pulled from www.politico.com

Camenker is Frustrated!!


That’s right, good ole Brian Camenker, is becoming frustrated in his plans to thwart Romney:

“I’m just at a loss,” Camenker says, “to understand how a major pro-family leader could endorse a candidate for president of the United States who continues to support adoption by homosexuals and has said that homosexuals should have these rights to adopt children — and also [that homosexuals] should have the right to domestic partnerships.”

Sorry Brian. Maybe the desperation in the first half of your statement is a product of the lies in the second half?

Who is this leader Brian is crying about? None other than James Dobson.

The head of a Massachusetts pro-family group is troubled that Focus on the Family founder and chairman Dr. James Dobson is reportedly considering endorsing former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for president. A video posted on YouTube shows Romney telling conservative commentator Ann Coulter and American Center for Law & Justice chief counsel Jay Sekulow that he had a “good meeting” with Dr. Dobson for “two hours,” and that the ministry leader was “still open” to backing Romney’s run for the White House.

Well it’s not official, but I have it on good word Carmenker was celebrating in December that Dobson was starting to turn against Romney. Maybe Carmenker should realize it’s better to have a seat at the table than waste away throwing fruitless lightning rods.

Errors from Evans and Novak

ERRORS!!!!

I love the Evans-Novak report but there are numerous errors in today’s issue:

Giuliani had absolutely no presence there whatsoever. Not a single sticker, sign, T-shirt, or visible volunteer was present for Giuliani at CPAC. Yet somehow, without trying, he succeeded.

It’s true there were no PRINTED stickers, signs or t-shirts… but there were numerous volunteers.

Proof… you want proof eh?

This was right in the lobby. There was a guy standing right there organizing things. Later he did some news interviews with news crews.

OK… more Evans Novak chicanery:

Romney’s young volunteers — he bussed in and paid for scores of students, many or mostly Mormons — were ubiquitous carrying his signs and passing out his stickers. His speech, delivered in his typical staccato style, was not bad. He also pleased conservatives with specific promises for keeping down government spending and repealing McCain-Feingold. But much of the applause in the room was clearly driven by the volunteers, who were carefully placed throughout the large ballroom at Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel.

I’m not even sure where to begin.

  • The Romney “busses” with “scores” of students amounted to 3 vans that the campaign paid for. Each van could hold about 7 people. This but hardly qualifies as the exaggerated “SCORES”.

  • As for the “Mormon” thing that is pure conjecture. You can judge for yourself here. I for a fact that 3 of them were not Mormon. Is anyone else uncomfortable with the Evans/Novak overtones here?
  • As for the “applause” from the “carefully placed” volunteers. Nonsense. Watch the video. I pan the crowd several times. The entire front section didn’t have a single Mitt-wearing t-shirt but they gave him a standing-O just the same. Just to get into the event you had to be there an hour ahead of time. There was not strategic placement. This is pure animus in my book.

More junk from E/N:

Unlike Romney’s cash-rich operation, Brownback’s homespun campaign just had to make a strong enough showing at CPAC to prove that he does not belong in the second tier of candidates.

  • Again, go listen to the students here. This not manufactured. Many of these people were local DCers. Many of the people I spoke to did not choose to go on camera because they work for local consevative think tanks.

  • As Matt Lewis pointed out:
    Some people will tell you that Mitt Romney didn’t deserve to win (because he bussed in College Republicans to vote for him). That’s like saying George W. Bush didn’t deserve to win because he raised more money than his opponent. Romney’s ability to organize, inspire, and transport college students to the conference is precisely why he did deserve to win! A campaign that has the organizational ability to bus in college students has the organizational ability to do a lot of other things, too. The rules allow for it, so what’s wrong with Romney doing what he has to do (within the rules) to win?

    I sense a lot of anger and anti-Romney rhetoric in the report.