Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, is a successful businessman with previous presidential campaign experience and name recognition. Given these attributes, many political pundits view him as the front runner in the GOP race to run against President Obama. However, his ideology and past decisions during his time as governor have many of the other GOP hopefuls licking their chops.
Romney has name recognition, an experienced campaign team, proven fundraising ability, and touts enormous success as a businessman. His PAC, Free and Strong America PAC, raised a total of more than $6 million in 2010 (including five state PACs) and he has proven ability to draw high paying donors to RNC fundraisers. During his first attempt at the White House in 2008, he received around 59 million dollars in individual contributions in 2007. Additionally, he has a personal fortune that could fund a presidential campaign.
As with any presidential candidate though, the former governor has some vulnerabilities. Conservatives have been wary of his changing stances on social issues. Additionally, some view his religion as an impediment to his ability to appeal to socially conservative Evangelical Christians, an important voting block in Republican primaries. Perhaps most troublesome for Romney is the work he did as governor of Massachusetts to enact health care legislation that is viewed as similar to Obama’s federal health care legislation. Recently, President Obama did not do him any favors by stating, “I agree with Mitt Romney, who recently said he is proud of what he accomplished on health care…” Republicans view their opposition to the president’s health care legislation as an essential component to a successful election cycle.
In my opinion, Romney is not the clear front runner for the nomination. His explanations and defense of the Massachusetts health care law will not likely persuade GOP primary voters. His inability to draw contrast to Obama on health care does not make him the strongest candidate to defeat the president in 2012. His fundraising ability, substance on economic issues, and campaign experience will make him a formidable candidate, but he will likely do no better than his 2008 showing.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons