Peter G. Flaherty: Romney's Secret Weapon

Saturday, 18 Feb 2012 12:03 PM

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Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a largely unseen but critial weapon this campaign season: his liaison to the Republican Party’s right wing, Peter G. Flaherty, a former homicide prosecutor, according to a profile featured in the NY Times.

As Romney confronts the ominous rise of Santorum,  Flaherty, a Catholic, has been given the challenge of winning over social and religious conservatives who remain suspicious of the candidate’s ideological commitment and unsure of his Mormon faith.

Indeed, it was Flaherty who:

• organized a confidential meeting between Mr. Romney and dozens of conservative leaders in Washington last week.

• persuaded five former ambassadors to the Vatican to publicly back Romney over his Catholic rivals, Mr. Santorum and Newt Gingrich, before the New Hampshire primary.

• has coached Romney on how to defend his position on fraught issues like abortion during debates, according to campaign colleagues and conservative leaders.

Flaherty, 46, is  described by those he has courted as "disarmingly mild-mannered, soft-spoken and philosophical. But they know him, too, as a man of deep feeling, propelled into the law by the murder of an aunt at a Boston church, where he returned to pray during jury deliberations as a prosecutor.

"He tends to begin conversations with an update on his three sons and two brothers, whom he speaks to several times a day."

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