If he runs for president again in 2016, Mitt Romney is set to do things much differently this time around.
Notably, according to The Washington Post, the 2012 Republican nominee is planning on making an effort to appear less polished and more “authentic.”
In addition to his failed 2012 bid, Romney unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination in 2008. Both times he was criticised for appearing stilted and overly managed. This led to Romney being frequently described as “robotic.”
The Washington Post also identified one “central” component of Romney’s effort to seem more genuine and natural if he runs in 2016: fully embracing his Mormon faith during the campaign.
“Romney is determined to re-brand himself as authentic, warts and all, and central to that mission is making public what for so long he kept private,” the Post reported Tuesday. “He rarely discussed his religious beliefs and practices in his failed 2008 and 2012 races, often confronting suspicion and bigotry with silence as his political consultants urged him to play down his Mormonism.”
Romney, a former Mormon pastor, struggled with how to talk about his religion in both of his past presidential campaigns. His eldest son, Tagg Romney, told the paper that his father was concerned he could alienate voters by making them think he was trying to convert them.
“He has been reluctant to speak too openly on the campaign trail about his faith out of a concern that people would believe his motivation for running was based on an attempt to convert others to his faith,” he said. “I believe he would be much more willing to open up and share who he is — not by asking others to learn the doctrines of his faith, but by speaking of the values of love and service that it has taught him.”
Romney associates also recently told The New York Times he is likely to talk about his faith more on the campaign trail if he runs in 2016. Kirk Jowers, a family friend who chaired Romney’s leadership PAC, argued Romney’s previous White House bids opened up the opportunity for the candidate to offer a more complex picture of himself.
“In 2008, Romney risked being a caricature of the Mormon candidates,” Jowers said. “Now everyone seems to know everything about him, and that will be very liberating for him to talk about his faith.”
Accordingly, Romney has taken multiple actions indicating he’s ready to embrace his own religion should he move forward with another national campaign. He reportedly changed his voter registration from Massachusetts, where he served as governor, to Utah, the epicentre of the Mormon community. And, according to the Post, members of his inner circle are even considering Salt Lake City as the location of his 2016 campaign headquarters.
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