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Romney 2.0: Mr. Fix-It

February 11, 2010 |  6:54 am

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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