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Romney Heads to Iowa, Noting Uncertainty in GOP Race

By Alec MacGillis
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Wistfulness is not an emotion one associates with Mitt Romney, who is as likely to betray doubt as he is to leave a shirttail untucked, but there was a hint of it in the air today as he bid farewell to several dozen close supporters gathered here before heading to Iowa for a final week of campaigning there leading up to the Jan. 3. caucus.

It was a more significant moment than one would have imagined just a month ago, when Romney, after investing considerable time and money in New Hampshire and Iowa, was holding on to a steady lead in the polls in both states, and when the only question seemed to be whether his presumptive wins in those two states would launch his candidacy nationwide. Today, his early state strategy is in peril, with an out-of-nowhere Mike Huckabee threatening him in Iowa and a resurgent John McCain threatening him in New Hampshire.

Romney noted the remarkable uncertainty in the Republican field, saying, "There's a lot of speculation right now about who's going to get the nomination ... and I'm not ready to predict the outcome." He lingered longer than he usually does in his New Hampshire stump speech about his feelings for the state.

And he offered what appeared to be intended as a kind of closing argument for his candidacy, though it amounted essentially an elaboration on his usual stump speech: that America is inherently strong, and that all it needs is a leader with the background and ability to reinforce what Romney sees as the three underpinnings of that basic fortitude--strong families, a strong economy, and strong military. Without naming names, he suggested that some of his rivals have an overly dour view of the current political moment, and cast himself as the Reaganesque optimist in the race, the candidate of "tomorrow" rather than "yesterday."

"When you look at the [country's] challenges, there are some people who are pessimistic when they look at it. I am not," Romney said. "I am convinced that America is not built by individuals who are doubters but by people who are dream makers, and Americans have great dreams."

It was his "unique experience" having been brought up in the family he was, being successful in the business, and governing Massachusetts that had prepared him for the job of protecting the country's fundamentally sound values, he said. ("I won't embarrass you in the White House," he said, without adding which of his rivals might in fact do so.)

His conclusion: "Americans rill rise to the occasion time and time again as we always have. It's time to replace our sense of concern and pessimism with a sense of optimism about the future. Because America's future is going to be bright, I'm convinced of that."

Romney did not address the challenges faced by his own campaign, leaving it to his wife Ann to assure the crowd that the Romneys had faced adversity before and overcome it, in the form of her struggles with multiple sclerosis. She described in greater detail than she often does on the trail just what bad shape she was in after getting her diagnosis in 1998 and growing quickly debilitated, around the time Romney was asked to run the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and before her condition began to improve.

"I remember having a good deal of depression, being so overwhelmed with the fatigue that was now part of my life," she said. "And I remember Mitt giving me hope and encouragement, saying, 'Don't worry, tomorrow will be a better day.'"

By Washington Post editors  |  December 27, 2007; 4:26 PM ET
 
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Comments

There is one week before the Iowa Caucaus. I would make a suggestion that anyone that loves to read would get a copy of "The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800
by Jay Winik" and review the course of America. I am in awe at how in sink Mitt Romney is with the Founding Fathers of this nation. I am amazed that he has been attacked in many similar ways that they were. Mitt Romney is one of those rare and precious finds and Americans need to review their history to find leaders like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln. Mitt Romney is such a leader

Posted by: manwaringjd | December 28, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Then why won't Obama answer WHEN he stopped abusing drugs (like Bush answered he did when he became a born-again Christian)?

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh I remember, it was the rat that posted the racist stuff, you just dragged thirty-year-old drug records (already openly admitted and put in the past) into the conversation like they actually matter. You guys seem to love Bush and he did cocaine and got a DUI so Obama shouldn't be too hard for you to handle, especially since Bush still acts like he's on coke half the time and Obama is clearly past that stage of his life.

Posted by: thecrisis | December 27, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Although I do apologize for misreading your 7:41 PM post as "if HE (Romney) were given a lobotomy . . .". I hope that did not confuse you any further than you already are.

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Your memory loss seems to be quite extensive -- do you remember where you were last night -- if not, please seek professional medical attention ASAP.

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 7:50 PM | Report abuse

No.

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Aren't you the guy who posted four or five racist/bigoted/unfounded comments the other day about how Obama was a terrorist sympathizing Islamofascist?

Posted by: thecrisis | December 27, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps you were given a lobotomy and just forgot -- Romney is indeed running for President as a Republican -- on Monday evening, we are also going to be celebrating the New Year 2008. Glad I could help.

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 7:45 PM | Report abuse

hahahaha the only way I'd support Romney today is if I were given a lobotomy and turned into a Republican.

Posted by: thecrisis | December 27, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

FYI: I would never hesitate to support Romney either -- glad to have you aboard ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 27, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I would never hesitate to support Romney...had he never changed his positions from where they were in the 90s. He was a solid independent-thinking liberal Republican and now he's just another throw-away right winger. Why on earth would anyone support a person who has changed his stance on virtually every single subject in less than 15 years?

Now he's anti-secular (which is anti-Constitution, by the way), homophobic, anti-abortion (anti-privacy), and anti-gun control to a ridiculous extent.

When did the Republican Party abandon the Constitution? Abortion is covered under the privacy clauses, homophobia is a clear repudiation of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause, and his overt attempt to bring religion into government (speaking out against Secularism) is an affront to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. When are Republicans going to once again embrace unbridled freedom?

Posted by: thecrisis | December 27, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse

He's a good man and the right man for our country. I don't care if he's changed positions, all I care about is that he fixes everything he touches. America would be in no better hands than his.

Posted by: cameronrich | December 27, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

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