Be prepared to see the “Renominate Romney” bumper stickers appearing soon on a car at the light in front of you. The 2012 GOP nominee is back for an encore run, with his supporters saying “Third time’s a charm.”
Politico called me Friday afternoon, seeking comment on Mitt Romney’s “almost announcement” of his entry into the 2016 race for the GOP nomination.
My reply was a full-on Sgt. Schultz “I know nothing!” And I don’t, not having spoken with Romney since he declared on my radio show on August 26 of last year “[Y]ou know, circumstances can change, but I’m just not going to let my head go there.”
So circumstances have obviously changed, and dramatically, and the backdrops of the terror attacks in Paris, the slaughter in Nigeria, the collapsing euro, the Russian war on Ukraine, the rise of the Islamic State and China’s brinksmanship in the South China Sea are all part of the rapidly deteriorating increasingly dangerous world that must have factored into Romney’s decision to re-enter the lists.
I told Politico that I believe Romney would run for genuinely patriotic reasons — he believes the country needs his abilities and he can beat Hillary — and I don’t doubt many other would be GOP nominees make the same assessment, thus a crowded field will result. The voters will decide who is best to take on Hillary, win, and right the country.
And those GOP debates that loom this fall! Stadium seating will be necessary, and I wondered Friday out loud and on-the-air to NBC’s Chuck Todd whether Romney just waives them off and runs a 21st century equivalent of a “front porch campaign” — popular among Republicans from Ohio including Presidents Garfield, Harrison, McKinley and Harding — and makes sure he is legally on every ballot and conducts strategically timed “big interviews” but does little in the way of the frenzied retail politics that first timers must do to break through the noise.
There will be obvious questions Romney will have to deal with and early on and here is how he could answer them:
Q: What about your 47% comment?
A: We all make mistakes in a long campaign and I will make more I am sure. By whether it is Hillary’s “We were broke when we left the White House,” Governor Perry’s “oops” moment or Governor Bush’s “act of love” phrase that upsets grassroots activists, I think voters know the world has become so dangerous, so treacherous, that they won’t be looking for a “Jeopardy” champion who makes no mistakes, but a leader for a world teetering on chaos.
Q: Tax returns?
A: As soon as 2014’s return is done, it will be put out, along with 2013’s.
Q: Would Paul Ryan be your running mate again?
A: I don’t know because I expect him to be speaker in 2017 and that would make a terrific partner for our team.
Q: Were you overconfident in ’12 and weighed down by bad polling?
A: The polling was good, the turnout model was off, and we will fix it. I did have a great transition plan, but not because of overconfidence but because of the need for speed. I may release it to show the country the scope of the problems and of the team needed to tackle them.
Q: But you lost.
A: As did Hillary. As did Jefferson once. As did many who lost runs for the presidency and then came back to try again, often more the once. Voters care about the future, not the past.”
I am surprised by the acceleration of the race, but not the field’s breadth and depth. Romney, Bush and Cruz have the first row of cars before the flag drops, but Chris Christie and others drive like Tony Stewart. It is going to be the race of the century.
This column was originally posted on WashingtonExaminer.com.