Does CPAC Mark a Mitt Romney Resurgence?

The 2008 presidential candidate builds steam among pundits

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During his 2008 campaign for the Republican presidential primary, Mitt Romney was a favorite of the chattering class. His moderate record as governor of blue-state Massachusetts, his tough attitude, and the identity politics of his religious background all made him a compelling figure. Romney attempted to regain that old 2008 magic with a big speech Thursday at CPAC, the annual conservative convention where Romney once won an unofficial straw poll as the Republican in attendance most favored to win the presidency. But the Republican Party and conservative movement have changed a lot in the last two years. Will Romney reignite, or is he just reliving the glory days?

  • 'The Return of Mitt Romney'  That's what Fox News bellwether show Fox & Friends is calling Romney's speech. With Romney a possible challenger to Fox News contributor Sarah Palin for a 2012 Republican presidential run, that's not nothing.
  • CPAC 'Embraces' Romney  Politico's Ben Smith explains why Romney was "received as the favorite son" at CPAC this year. "Romney has gained a kind of gravity in his years out of office. He no longer mentions the social issues that he suddenly seemed to have discovered in 2008, and prides himself instead in talking about big things. He weighs in major speeches and in prestigious forums, and his attacks on the White House tend to get noticed."
  • Romney Aligns With GOP Ideology  Public Policy Polling's Tom Jensen reads the polls. "[T]here are more Republicans who think that Sarah Palin's too conservative than there are who think either Huckabee or Romney is too liberal," he writes. Only nine percent of respondents call Romney too liberal. "I think those numbers show that- at least at this point- sentiment that Huckabee or Romney is not ideologically fit to be the Republican standard bearer is largely confined to hyper partisans on the internet."
  • Overshadowed By Marco Rubio, Scott Brown  The Boston Globe's Susan Milligan reports, "While Romney received several standing ovations in the packed ballroom, his reception did not have the same feverish enthusiasm awarded to such new faces as Marco Rubio, a conservative US Senate candidate from Florida, and Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, who, in a surprise appearance, introduced Romney."
  • Lose-Lose Stakes in CPAC Straw Poll  Salon's Mike Madden explains, "Many people involved in GOP politics expect Romney to win his fourth consecutive straw poll. Which actually could put the 2008 runner-up for the GOP nomination in a bit of a tough spot Saturday night: Win, and you haven't done anything surprising ('This is his kind of deal,' says a strategist for one of Romney's 2008 rivals); lose, and it's a big upset."
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