The prospect that Mitt Romney plans to join
the already crowded field of potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates has not keyed up Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill, according to The Hill
With the exception of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, who share Romney's Mormon faith, other Republicans were either skeptical about a third Romney try for the White House or took a wait-and-see attitude, the Hill reported.
"He's one of the finest men that has ever run for the position," Hatch told the Hill. "I know him very, very well, and we cannot do better than Romney."
Romney will likely find that winning over the GOP's conservative base will be no less challenging in 2016 than it was in 2012.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, himself a possible contender, says that a moderate standard-bearer is unlikely to bring victory to the Republicans.
"If we nominate a candidate in 2016 in the same mold as Bob Dole, or John McCain or Mitt Romney," Cruz said, "then the same voters who stayed home in 2008 and 2012 will stay home in 2016, and Hillary Clinton will be the next president," the Hill reported.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, says Romney's 2012 campaign was disappointing because it failed to define how he differed from President Barack Obama on domestic and foreign policy. Unless Romney solves that problem this time, he "may not be the right candidate," the Hill reported.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa says, "I haven't had a conversation with Mitt Romney since the last time he was in Iowa in 2012, so I wouldn't know what's behind his motivations," the Hill reported.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, who served as Romney's congressional liaison during the 2012 campaign, says this time he may back a fellow senator for president. Likewise, Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, who endorsed Romney early in 2012, is non-committal about the former governor's possible candidacy.
Freshman Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado told the Hill that "there are a lot of qualified candidates on the Republican side." Last September, Romney campaigned in Colorado
for GOP candidates, including Gardner. In 2012, he lost the state by five points to Obama.
"I'm going to reserve judgment. It's too early in the process for me to make that decision," says Sen. John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, who supported Romney 2012, according to the Hill.
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