For months, Mitt Romney has denied harboring any intentions to launch a 2016 presidential campaign, but his possible attendance at this week's Republican National Committee meeting is another sign things may have changed.
"He has been invited and we've been told he is planning to attend," an RNC source tells CNN
. The three-day meeting is set to open Wednesday in San Diego.
It was less than six months ago, at another RNC meeting, that Romney advisers were adamant he was not running. Ron Kaufman, a senior adviser to Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, told The Christian Science Monitor
at the August event, "He’s been very clear — he loved running, gave it his best, and lost."
The 2012 Republican presidential nominee began softening his tone at the end of 2014, when more people were calling for him to reconsider.
Having campaigned during the midterms for Republican candidates, Romney over the weekend began calling Republican donors and former aides on his own behalf, reports The Washington Post
He also reached out to conservatives, many of those who were not warm to his candidacy in 2012.
"He was relaxed, reflective and was interested in hearing my thoughts on the American working class. He was fully engaged and up to speed on everything happening on [the] domestic and international front. To me, it didn’t seem like he was content to be just a passive player in American politics," radio talk-show host Laura Ingraham told The Post.
Although the rumors of a Romney candidacy have gained steam in recent weeks, some ex-staffers remain circumspect of the former Massachusetts governor's chances.
"It would be a challenge to argue that he represents the future of the new Republican Party," former Romney spokesman Kevin Madden told US News & World Report
Madden's skepticism is aired by other former aides, who contend Romney must come to the table with a message that can reach the middle class.
"How is he able to sell himself as someone who understands the challenges of everyday people? He wasn’t able to do that [in 2012]. That’s what people want, not somebody who can talk about creative destruction or whatever," one former Romney aide, now being recruited by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a likely GOP presidential candidate, tells Yahoo! News
History is also not necessarily on Romney's side. Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic nominee in 1952 and 1956, ran again in 1960 and lost the nomination to John F. Kennedy.
Regardless of his chances, some are cheering his entry because they see Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as Romney's main rivals, and a fight among the "establishment" candidates would work to the benefit of more conservative ones.
"If it's a war these three Republicans want, they’ve got it. Just sit back, conservatives, and let them have it.
"Because this time, the opening salvos weren’t on the conservative grassroots — they were fired directly at Bush, who, before this weekend, had his own guns aimed more directly at conservatives than any major Republican presidential contender since former New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller," writes Daily Caller managing editor Christopher Bedford
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