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Romney 2.0: Mr. Fix-It

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets newly elected Sen. Scott Brown Get ready for another political book tour. Also another political reinvention.

A Republican governor in mostly Democratic Massachusetts, Mitt Romney has long defied easy description. He ran for president in 2008 by banking hard to his conservative side, convinced by his strategists that there was an opening to the right of maverick moderate Republican John McCain. He worked to raise money and offer advice to long-shot Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown but stayed in the background (until Brown's victorious election night, pictured) lest he stir animosity among voters still smarting over his healthcare reforms.

Now, two weeks before publication of "No Apology: The Case for American Greatness," Romney is pivoting again -- this time pitching himself as a problem solver whose background as a successful financier makes him the ideal candidate to rescue the ailing U.S. economy.

Like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Romney is planning a book-tour blitz that mirrors his ambitions -- starting on ABC's "The View," stopping at the first-vote-in-the-primary state of Iowa, speaking this weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., an early temperature-reader on the emotions of the Republican base.

But in a fascinating piece, the Boston Phoenix wonders if "letting Mitt be Mitt" will work. A Mormon whose father, George Romney, was governor of Michigan and a presidential candidate himself in 1968, the younger Romney has had a hard time finding his political bearings.

For one thing, his previous reincarnations — he ran as a liberal Republican in a losing attempt to unseat the late Sen. Ted Kennedy — have already strained his credibility. "Any further change — even to become the real, authentic Romney — will be viewed with suspicion, if not derision," wrote the Phoenix.

But the real problem, said the paper, is "the real Mitt Romney — Harvard MBA, political scion, hard-working businessman, super-wealthy master of Wall Street offerings, devout Mormon — might not be what Republican primary voters actually want."

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Associated Press

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As a conservative republican I certainly will not understand if republican primary voters don't find Mitt Romney to be what they want. He has the experience and the intelect and the personality to be president so what is not to like? After dealing with Obama and Palin for awhile I would think that mainstream American would come to their senses and realize that we don't want someone that is a "rockstar" or "just like us" to be President but that we would want someone smarter and more qualified than us. That would be Mitt. Mitt in 2012!!

Can you hear that fear just oozing out of the liberal press? They would love nothing more if Republicans went for Sarah Palin. She's destined to lose to Obama in 2012.

However, if Dems have to face a competent candidate, there will be genuine fear!

Will Republicans be wise enough this time around to go for competency rather than populism? Will they get wise in time to recognize that populism does nothing for jobs or long-term prosperity?

If Republicans don't want Mitt Romney, they're idiots.

I don't know why you are saying that he would be pivoting again by focusing on his business prowess. That is not a pivot it a futher focus on this strengths. That is one of the biggest reasons that I like him and have for quite a while now. He understands business and how to make it grow and be successfull. He exudes stregth and knowledge and intelligence which at this point is exactly what would be usefull to this country. You use the phrase "previous reincarnations". That would be a singular reincarnation - much like that of Regan who saw where he was wrong politically and was proud to state as much. Say what you feel is expedient but Romney at this point is a great choice for a presidential candidate on the next round. I'm looking forward to his book.

ya Why would republicans want someone who is competent and knows how to solve problems, turn things around and balance budgets.

Let's see, now, we have had over a year's experience led by a President with zero private sector experience, with no growth in private sector jobs. We hoped for "change" but what we got instead was an extra trillion (+) dollars added to the national debt.

Against that sort of result, what would be so bad about hiring a CEO for the country who is a "Harvard MBA, hard-working businessman, master of Wall Street offerings [and] devout Mormon"? I am aware of no polling data suggesting that Republican voters want an ignoramus or a personal failure in charge of the economy. The article left out Romney's rescue of the 2002 Olympic games, but surely the nation is no less in need of a turnaround than the 2002 event was.

Is the Times suggesting that Republican voters are such anti-Mormon bigots that they would rather have the country collapse than let a Mormon anywhere near the White House? Clearly that's not true of Republican voters in Massachusetts, Michigan and Utah -- all places where people have experienced Romney's work close up.

Funny how when a celebrity takes on different occupations it gives them 'depth' or 'dimension.' Apparently, no one in the media can imagine, or at least portray, Mitt Romney as a dynamic and capable individual. Instead, there are constant references trying to dehumanize his appearance and make him over to be some piece of refreshed hardware.

Will the real Mitt Romney stand up? The problem is "his ambitions". Romney ambitions have lead him to be whatever he felt at the time the political winds wanted, leaving the fake Mitt Romney at the end.

Romney is disingenuous, that is the real deal and the real man.
Disingenuous Romney--- and Mass. knows it, it is why Mitt had to hide. Others know it too.

I know that Romney is not perfect, but I really think that his ideas will be the most beneficial for this country. He is a natural leader.

Politics aside. I don't agree with Romney on a lot of things but we really need a guy with his background right now.

Mitt is a problem solver. He's not pretending to be one.
In fact, Mitt has the perfect qualifications at the right time.

Romney 2012

"Romney is pivoting again -- this time pitching himself as a problem solver whose background as a successful financier makes him the ideal candidate to rescue the ailing U.S. economy."
This might be a NEW concept for you but NOT a pivot for Mitt Romney! You better do some research if you think "successful financier" and "rescuing an ailing" economy is something NEW to Mitt. American would rather have a president they can have a beer with ... than have any smart eggheads running our country and heaven forbid they were successful in business. We would rather have corrupt people who need the money and can be bought.

The smart one can be one of the natural leaders in this country like Mitt Romney. He is the one can be defeated the current president of the United of States of America.

Mitt Romney is tirelessly working for the Republican Party, and his great contributions to will be the beneficial to the Americans people.

Mitt in 2012

I love it when people say that "the country couldn't elect a Mormon to high political office because..."

Usually they finish this sentence with "Mormonism is a cult" or "Salt Lake would be pulling the strings" or "Mormons are all so far right".

Do these people not realize that Harry Reid is a practicing Mormon? True story, folks.

I can't wait for Mitt's book, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, to come out. I'm worried about the future of our country, and I'm willing to listen to anyone who has solutions to offer. It doesn't hurt that Mitt has been turning around dire situations his entire adult life. Also, it's not a reinvention for a candidate to talk about a new topic. Mitt is the same Mitt he was during the last election. The only perceived difference is that he's talking about jobs and national security more than he did before. As the world changes, it makes sense to talk about the issues of the day. Nobody wants a leader who is stuck in the past.

Poor Romney. He's super successful, no skeletons in the closet. The media has NOTHING on this guy so they have to harp on the "change" that he (and every other politician might I add) has had. Huckabee changed his stance on illegal aliens (he said that getting rid of them would hurt USA in 2004, now he's saying we should get them all out in 120 days), McCain did as well (he was for the immigration reform at first, then he was for secure border which is totally not what the reform was about). Giuliani changed his stance on universal healthcare (he was for HillaryCare in the 90's) and now he's against it. Hillary changed her stance a couple times in the middle of a debate about licenses for illegal aliens. Shows more of a weakness in the media than Romney.

Obama got where he is because he can give a good speech. He never ran anything in the real world, and it shows.

Huckabee was a governor, so he does have executive experience. But his record isn't impressive, unless you're in favor of letting criminals out of jail and destroying hard drives to hide things you don't want known. Huckabee is fiscally liberal. Anything he did in Arkansas required that taxes be raised. Is that what we really need now?

I like Palin, but I'm concerned that her looks and speeches aren't going to be enough to solve our problems.

Romney might not be perfect, but we don't need perfection. What this country needs is someone with an actual track record of actually fixing things that are very screwed up. And that's where Romney is very qualified.

The Detroit Pistons didn't sign Dennis Rodman because he was a scholar or a model citizen or a concert pianist. They signed him because they needed a guy who could rebound, and Rodman filled that role very nicely.

Romney is a very good fit for the problems facing this country.

Mitt is the best the Republicans have. If people either favor or disfavor Rommney strictly on his religious affiliation rather than the content of his own character, then they are fundamentally wrong.

As far as his reputation as an evolving liberal-to-conservative, look at President Reagan's career. Reagan worked as a civilian before being a governor, and became even more conservative as a presidential candidate.

Reagan became more anti-abortion as he evolved, just as Mr. Romney has done.

We shall see how popular Mr. Obama and other democrats will be in 2012. Maybe the Republicans will take back what they have lost recently.

Do the American people want BETTER change?

I hope so.

I will vote for Romney, hopefully twice in 2012. I think the key for Mitt is winning Republican votes in the south. We know he can do it in the Midwest and the West. The New England states and Mid Atlantic? We don't need those votes if Mitt wins everywhere else. But maybe by then the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be smart enough to vote for the Governor again. He does health care.

Will it be working well then?

The saga continues...

Romney did not run as a liberal Republican as she stated. If you actually look at what he ran on in Massachusetts, it was very conservative, low taxes, fiscal restraint, family values.

Secondly, this quote "Romney is pivoting again -- this time pitching himself as a problem solver whose background as a successful financier makes him the ideal candidate to rescue the ailing U.S. economy" is patently FALSE!

Romney was always a problem solver and pitched himself that way. He started the slogan "Washington is broken" and said he could not wait to get his hands on it to fix it. Was Neumann even paying attention during the primary? I think she was only paying attention to Romney detractors and gets her info second hand. The left wing media tried to characterize him as inauthentic to minimize his appeal but those who know him, first hand sources would not agree. To them he is a genuine problem solver.

To illustrate her second hand sources, she quotes the Phoenix? This pubilication has long tried to sink Romney because of his opposition to so-called gay marriage. They twist and turn everything to his disfavor. I found numerous flaws in their piece too. Pathetic.


I sure hope Romney runs again in 2012. I forced myself last time to do as John McCain's mother suggested, I "plugged my nose" and voted for McCain. I never understood why we Republicans chose to put forth the candidate who bragged he finished 5th from the bottom at the Naval Academy and didn't choose instead the genius who finished Valedictorian from BYU then went on to Harvard? Something is wrong with this picture! I want the smartest guy we can find in office! Who came up with this nonsense that we want our president to be "one of the guys" someone you'd "want to have a beer with?" I want him or her to be WAY SMARTER THAN THE REST OF US! Romney 2012 - please!

The deeper one goes on the internet looking for credible articles about Romney the more you like him. This guy isn't just real good as a leader and a problem definer and solver. He's terrific and full broad skills and abilities as a leader/administrator. He's a multi-tasker extraorninar! He's done things nobody has done, things very smart people felt couldn't be done and done it with conscience and ethics.

Here's something to research about him--look up online: "the Bain Way", 113% for 14 years--have fun.

Meg Whitman in California! Nikki Haley in South Carolina! And Mitt Romney in the Whitehouse!

One point for Romney is that he proves evolution is fact. He started as a moderate to liberal Republican claiming he would be stronger on gay rights than Ted Kennedy to a suddenly prolife Republican in '06 also opposed to stem cell research. Now he's back to Mr. Fix-it. At some point, he'll need to explain which Mitt is the "real" Mitt. And why he opposes health care reforms almost identical to the ones he passed in Mass. Yet another stage in his evolution.

Mitt Romney is a class act. I don't understand why all the articles try to spin him as 'evolving'. Yes, he's changed his stance on abortion. He's explained why he did so and believe it was authentic.

Also, why does everyone mention that he's a Mormon? Who cares what religion a person is. Harry Reid is a practicing Mormon and no one blinks an eye with that. Plus, there politics couldn't be further apart. It matters who is his and what he stands for. Not where he goes to church on Sunday.

This never ending effort by the media to portray Mitt Romney as ever evoloving is a bunch of bull. First of all Mitt Romney would never have been identified as a "liberal Republican" in Massachusetts. He was moderate on certain social issues and a staunch fiscal conservative. His only real change of position is when he became officially "pro-life". The change wasn't sudden though. He had always expressed is personal opposition to abortion but felt that it should remain legal. He formally and clearly explained his change of position to the public and there's no reason to doubt his sincerity. Secondly, he isn't repackaging himself as a "problem solver whose background as a successful financier makes him the ideal candidate to rescue the ailing U.S. economy". That's precisely who he was during the campaign. I maintain that Mitt Romney was the most consistant candidate of the presidential campaign.

This is the kind of propoganda that is infuriating to those of us who see Mitt Romney as a capable and ideal executive in a time when economic principles are severely misunderstood, seemingly, by everyone currently in office. You call his focusing on himself as a problem solver a "pivot," thus furthering the unjustified characterization of Mitt as a flip-flopper. At least it is unfair to the extent that it presupposes that Romney has changed positions any more than the whole flock of other politicians out there. How on earth is focusing on his abilities as a problem solver a "pivot?" Did he originally take the position that he wasn't a problem-solver? In a world where Romney is seen as a disingenuous flip-flopper and McCain and Biden aren't, where on earth can a consumer turn for fair reporting?!! I guess that's what we should expect from a media class who sells Biden as an "expert" on international relations, when in reality he is the king of really really bad ideas on all things foreign.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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