Just two days before the midterm elections, Mitt Romney's is the opinion that matters most in Republican politics.
On Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, the former governor of Massachusetts and 2012 GOP presidential nominee pondered a Republican success Tuesday. Romney has reemerged as a force in GOP politics this year, offering sought-after views on domestic and foreign policy and stumping for candidates as one of the most popular surrogates on the trail. Now, in the final run-up to an Election Day that will likely see Republicans win the Senate, he's setting himself up to take credit for the party's success.
"It will be a big Republican year," Romney told Wallace. "I can't tell you if we get the Senate, but we're going to pick up a lot of seats in the Senate. We'll pick up seats in states across the country. That's in part because, as the president said, his policies are on the ballot this year, and frankly, this is people in America passing judgment on the Obama administration, with which they're not very happy."
As a self-styled, de facto leader of the GOP, Romney delivered the party's closing argument to voters. Their case, Romney said, centers around a united Congress that can actually get things done.
"The Republican Party is saying, look, we're going to break the blockade in Washington by having a Republican senate," Romney said. "We'll have an energy policy, which means we'll have the Keystone pipeline. We're going to secure the border, jump-start the economy, and help get people out of poverty."
Congressional Republicans, however, also contributed to the gridlock, Wallace pointed out: A GOP-controlled House blocked Senate-passed, bipartisan legislation to reform immigration. Romney predicted that if Republicans held majorities in both chambers, Congress would act on immigration.
"You'll see a provision, first of all, to secure the border," he said. "Second of all, to deal with those who have come here illegally, and third, make sure our immigration policies are open and transparent. That's going to happen. You're going to see a bill actually reach the desk of the president, if we finally have someone besides Harry Reid sitting in the Senate."
With Romney's increased visibility this year, speculation on whether the former presidential contender will make a third bid for the White House has been a recurring theme. His answers to the constant questions have changed ever-so-subtly over the last few months, but his wife, Ann, told the Los Angeles Times last month that the family was "done" with running. On Sunday, he told Wallace that was still the case.
"The reality is this," Romney said. "I'm not running. I'm not planning on running."
It's likely he won't, even though that door doesn't appear completely shut. He is, however, plotting the next stages of his comeback. If the GOP controls Congress, his efforts to bolster Republican candidates across the country will give him even greater sway within the party. It just remains to be seen what tangible impact he can have.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.
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