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Will Romney's Combative Style Net VP Nod?
In Interview With CBSNews.com, Ex-McCain Rival Flashes VP-Type Style
This story was written by CBSNews.com political reporter Scott Conroy.
"Mitt Romney spent over $35 million of his own money and more than a year of his life on a bid for the presidency that fell short and ended abruptly. The former Massachusetts governor is not one to wallow in failure, but even for the incurably optimistic Romney, portraying his unsuccessful run in a positive light would seem an impossible task. Still, he manages.
"In some respects it's ideal," Romney said only half-jokingly as he sat down for an exclusive national interview with CBSNews.com before addressing the crowd at the opening of John McCain's Great Lakes regional headquarters. "Get out of the race just before summer so you can spend some time with the family at the beach."
Despite his deep summer tan, Romney has been anything but a beach bum as of late. Since dropping out of the Republican race in February, he has gone from being John McCain's fiercest rival to one of the Arizona senator's most visible surrogates. What was inconceivable during the height of their primary battles, the prospect of a McCain/Romney ticket, is now a real possibility.
The most obvious assets that Romney would bring to the Republican ticket include his economic expertise, fundraising prowess and potential to give McCain a boost in more than one battleground state. But a less talked about plus side to a Romney vice presidential candidacy is that despite his perpetually sunny demeanor, the former Massachusetts governor is not afraid to unleash razor-sharp political attacks against the opposition.
"This is not the time for an amateur," Romney said of presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama. "This is the time for a tested, proven professional to lead our country." (Watch video of Romney talking about Obama)
Romney brims with confidence and is almost always unflappable. The McCain campaign has taken advantage of Romney's willingness to take the offensive by encouraging him to make TV appearances on the senator's behalf.
The ability to stay on message is an asset for any vice presidential prospect, but that very trait also led to criticisms during Romney's campaign that he could come across as impersonal or robotic.
Asked what his father George, who as Governor of Michigan during the 1960's was a champion of civil rights, would have made of an African-American candidate winning a major party nomination, Romney refused to go off script, even for a moment, to acknowledge Obama's historic achievement.
"I think most Americans do what the Democrats did in their primary, which is they look at the person and say who can be the right leader at a particular point in time, and they make that decision without regard to gender or race or faith," Romney said. "
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008
In the News