Two-time presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears ready to launch a third campaign —
replete with a "softer side" showing his "true heart," but some aides from both previous bids aren't all-in with the new attempt, National Review Online reports.
"How many times can you redefine somebody?" a skeptical Jan van Lohuizen, a pollster from Romney’s 2008 bid, tells the magazine's online site.
Former Minnesota governor and 2012 GOP candidate Tim Pawlenty tells National Review Online a Netflix documentary
about Romney's run as the GOP presidential nominee in 2012 gave him "a lot to think about," adding it made him realize "there is an effective way to show the soft side and the true heart of Mitt that wasn’t done during the last campaign as effectively as it could have been."
He seemed to be testing the new tack when he urged the Republican National Committee to adopt an anti-poverty message that differs from his 2012 focus on small-business owners and entrepreneurs —
and alluded to his family and activities as a Mormon church leader, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Lohuizen thinks the change only makes him look ambitious.
"I have a bad reaction to it," he tells National Review Online. "After all his denials last year that he was going to run, to all of a sudden turn on a dime and decide to run after all just because Jeb Bush was doing the same thing, I thought it was just weird, and it made it look all about his ambition."
An unnamed aide from the 2012 campaign disagreed.
"The risks of this ending badly are far outweighed by the regret he'd feel of sitting it out," the aide told National Review Online, though he conceded he didn't know if a third try will turn out any better.
A third adviser, who also wasn't named, seemed more supportive.
"At face value, he’s better positioned now than in 2011," according to that source. "He was losing to people then who weren’t even in the race [for the nomination]."
A big point in his favor, that adviser adds, is President Barack Obama isn't on the ballot and Hillary Clinton
doesn't look so formidable after stumbles, including those on a recent book tour.
"She’s not an incumbent president, so, if you take out Hillary and put in anybody . . . You could put in Elizabeth Warren, you could put in anybody — Bill Clinton," the former adviser tells the magazine online site. "Pick your favorite. That person will be easier. Incumbent presidents are the hardest to beat."
But Lohuizen says the new Romney
is confusing in light of the old images, including of him infamously saying his job was "not to worry about" the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income tax.
Lohuizen said the images are confusing —
"The problem is, we’ve now had a liberal Mitt Romney who was pro-choice; and then we had ultra-conservative Mitt Romney, who was more conservative than anybody else — that was in ’08," he tells National Review Online.
"And then we had Mr. Fix-It Mitt Romney, who is going to fix the economy. And now we’re going to get Mr. World Politics/Strong America Mitt Romney, just because the circumstances on the ground have changed since he ran in 2012."
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