Friday, January 25, 2008

Romney is the Opposite of Reagan

Peggy Noonan’s biography of Ronald Reagan,"When Character Was King," shows the former president to be humble and beloved by most who knew him. Romney appears to be distant and dislike by many who know him.

Romney leads in ill will among GOP candidates
By Michael Luo
New York Times
Article Launched: 01/24/2008 03:33:40 AM PST

TAMPA, Fla. - At the end of the Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire this month, when the Democrats joined the candidates on stage, Mitt Romney found himself momentarily alone as his counterparts mingled, looking around a bit stiffly for a companion.

The moment was emblematic of a broader reality that has helped shape the Republican contest and could take center stage again today at a debate in Florida. Within the small circle of contenders, Romney has become the most disliked.

With so much attention recently on the sniping between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the Democratic side, the almost visceral scorn directed at Romney by his rivals has been overshadowed.

"Never get into a wrestling match with a pig," Sen. John McCain said in New Hampshire this month after reporters asked him about Romney. "You both get dirty, and the pig likes it."

Mike Huckabee's pugilistic campaign chairman, Ed Rollins, appeared to stop just short of threatening Romney with physical violence at one point.

"What I have to do is make sure that my anger with a guy like Romney, whose teeth I want to knock out, doesn't get in the way of my thought process," Rollins said.

Campaign insiders and outside strategists point to several factors driving the ill will, most notably, Romney's attacks on opponents in TV commercials, the perception of him as an ideological panderer and resentment about his seemingly unlimited resources as others have


struggle to raise cash.
Romney's campaign contends that the hostility is driven by how he has aggressively sought to win the early primaries, setting himself up as the chief antagonist, first, to Huckabee in Iowa and then to McCain in New Hampshire.

A spokesman for the Romney campaign, Kevin Madden, said, "I think it's largely driven by the fact that everybody's taught to tackle the guy on the field with the ball."

And a senior adviser to Romney, Ronald Kaufman, pointed to his vast personal fortune and upstart status in politics as breeding resentment.

The New Hampshire debate was striking in that it amounted to a gang tackle of Romney, even though McCain was leading in polls in the state.

"The glee the other candidates go after Romney with is really unique," said Dan Schnur, a Republican strategist who worked on McCain's presidential campaign bid in 2000 but currently is not affiliated with any campaign.

In stark contrast to Romney, McCain seems to be universally liked and respected by the other Republican contenders, even if they disagree with him.

Schnur used a schoolyard analogy to compare Romney, the ever proper Harvard Law School and Business School graduate, to McCain, the gregarious rebel who racked up demerits and friends at the Naval Academy. "John McCain and his friends used to beat up Mitt Romney at recess," Schnur said.

Although McCain has now started to draw some cautious challenges from Giuliani in Florida, he has a longstanding friendship with him, dating from 1998, when they first met.

McCain also seems to have fallen into a mutual non-aggression pact with Huckabee, who has been almost fawning in his compliments for McCain and dripping with contempt when discussing Romney.

McCain has drawn criticism as being excessively personal in striking back at Romney. So he has tried to play down any notion that he harbors special animosity toward him, saying he simply does not know him well.

Giuliani endorsed Romney for Massachusetts governor in 2002 and campaigned for him. Romney got to know McCain while running the 2002 Winter Olympic Games and went to Washington to seek federal money.

Aides to Huckabee say he did not get to know Romney well as a governor, finding him distant at meetings. The aides said they were irritated that Romney did not call after Huckabee's victory in Iowa.

Romney shrugged off any tension with his rivals when asked about it.

"You know," he said, "in this process, people have a real battle for success. But I consider these guys friends."



At 8:25 PM, Anonymous MikeJ said...

"Romney opposite of Ronald Reagan!"

This has to be the silliest comment I've heard in weeks. Ronald Reagan must be turning in his grave to see liberal John McCain repeatedly paint himself a Reagan conservative- despite his record to the contrary. Integrity? Reagan had integrity. What you saw in tonights debates was McCain - the 'straight talker' dodging questions (would you vote for your amnesty bill?) and blatantly lying about Romney's position on Iraq timetables -even though the truth was known by everyone else in America. That lie may have cost Romney the Florida primary. How Clintonesque!

Romney has integrity. Romney has a record of success. Many true Republican conservatives love Romney, and so would have Ronald Reagan. If you were good looking, rich, smart, and above all RIGHT, don't you think your competition would be just a bit jealous?


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