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Analysis: Romney Trying To Stay Under The Radar

This article is more than 12 years old.

Mitt Romney has taken the first official step along a path toward the next presidential election. The former Massachusetts governor — who ran unsuccessfully for the 2008 Republican nomination — has formed a committee to explore another possible bid.

He announced the move on Twitter and on his official website Monday afternoon. In a video, Romney cited his experience as governor and his work in the private sector as learning experiences that will inform his candidacy. As governor, he said, he'd been fiscally responsible:

When I served as governor of Massachusetts, I used the skills I had learned in 25 years in business to streamline state government, balance the budget every year, and restore a $2 billion rainy day fund.

Romney has kept his campaigning low-key, announcing his intended candidacy Monday with little fanfare.

“He probably feels it's best to stay under the radar rather than be seen as the front-runner," Todd Domke, WBUR’s Republican political analyst, told Morning Edition Tuesday. "The front-runner generally invites all the criticism from other possible candidates, but from the media as well.”

WBUR’s Democratic political analyst, Dan Payne, who also spoke with Morning Edition, doubts the effectiveness of Romney's approach.

“If others can gets votes or dollars by smashing the front-runner they won’t wait for Romney’s official announcement," Payne said. "They are going to treat him as if he’s in the race right now.”

The establishment of an exploratory committee will allow Romney to raise funds in accordance with federal law. Estimates say that President Obama is expected to raise and spend nearly $1 billion during his 2012 election campaign, smashing previous records. Domke predicts that it will be difficult for a Republican challenger to match those highs, even for a great fundraiser like Romney.

“For any Republican to match $1 billion by Obama, that’s going to be very difficult, maybe impossible,” Domke said. “The challenger has many advantages, being able to deny blame for any bad conditions and all that, but to be able to raise that kind of money — I don’t think it’s possible.”

That's not all Romney has to worry about. Many anticipate that his biggest hurdle will be facing the fact that he signed the Massachusetts health care bill that laid the groundwork for what critics label “ObamaCare.”

“Tea Party activists, in particular, don’t trust Romney because, yes indeed, ‘RomneyCare’ was a model for ‘ObamaCare',” Domke said. "And they see Romney as representing the past, they see him representing bigness. Not necessarily big business but certainly the special interests that feed big government. So, his prowess and fundraising can hurt him if he is seen as the big money candidate, the establishment candidate.”

As part of his announcement, Romney visited the University of New Hampshire Monday, and spoke with students.


This program aired on April 12, 2011.

Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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