Politicos are abuzz with talk of a third Mitt Romney presidential run. The former Massachusetts governor is the second-most-written-about would-be candidate in the GOP, according to a Pew Research Center report released Tuesday.
Pew surveyed 15 top newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Denver Post and The Tampa Bay Times, for stories focusing on specific candidates' possible 2016 bids. The analysis found that so far in 2014, 74 newspaper articles have explored a Romney run. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had the most media attention of possible Republican contenders, with 82 articles. Christie's involvement with the Bridgegate scandal upped talk of his 2016 chances, the report concluded.
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton inspired 82 stories. That was more than three times the number Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who ranked second after Clinton, garnered, at 22 stories.
For the newspapers surveyed in Pew's report, Romney's is a name readers not only recognize, but have strong opinions about. Last month, Washington couldn't stop talking about a New York Times Magazine piece focusing entirely on whether he'd run, and Tuesday, The Washington Post proclaimed that Romney's friends "can't quit Mitt." Unlike lesser written about GOP possibilities, Romney is a known quantity—which means a guaranteed traffic driver.
Romney supporters constantly beg him to run, Ron Kaufman, a former senior adviser to the 2012 Republican nominee, told National Journal earlier this month. By stumping for Republicans such as state Sen. Joni Ernst, who's locked in a tight race for the U.S. Senate in Iowa, Romney has found a GOP base eager to push him back into the presidential fray. And despite his loss in 2012, he's proven to be a thought leader for the party.
But Romney's wife, Ann, asserted Monday that the family is "done" with the campaign trail.
"Not only Mitt and I are done, but the kids are done," she told the Los Angeles Times. "Done. Done. Done."
Ann's insistence that her husband won't run, which came as she announced the launch of the Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases in Boston, marks yet another turn in the Romney 2016 rhetoric. Though Romney said in August that he definitely wasn't plotting another bid, he hedged in a New York Times Magazine piece last month, saying, "We'll see what happens."
Perhaps Romney really doesn't know what to do, and is open to considering a third run. Or maybe he's just tired of giving a hackneyed answer every time reporters come within shouting distance. Either way, if the media flurry continues, Ann's stance could face the same softening her husband's has.