Saturday, November 25, 2006

Mitt Romney reaches for the Reagan touch

The Boston Globe has an interesting article on the similarities between Ronald Reagan and Mitt Romney.

The day after the midterm elections, Governor Mitt Romney, reflecting on the GOP's punishing losses, issued a clarion call to conservatives: "We must return to the common-sense Reagan Republican ideals."

Three days later, at a State House Veterans Day ceremony, Romney invoked the former president again, saying, "As Ronald Reagan once said, 'I have seen four wars during my lifetime and none of them began because America was too strong.' "

And then last Friday, asked by a Fox News interviewer whether he was running for president, Romney said he was giving it some serious thought, because the stakes were so high. "We're going to have to make sure that we have the kind of Reagan optimism that America's looking for," he said.

Romney's repeated references to the nation's 40th president in two weeks illustrate how the governor, as he builds toward a 2008 presidential bid, is increasingly trying to cast himself in the Reagan mold -- as a patriotic, small-government conservative from outside the Beltway who's bent on repelling taxes, moral relativism, and foreign threats.

Like many Republicans, Romney has long described Reagan as one of his heroes, but as the governor's White House hopes have gained steam, his admiration has turned to emulation: Romney seems to be channeling the former president's conservative convictions, his hopeful message, and even his witty, folksy style of connecting with voters from South Carolina to Southern California.

There are many similarities between the two: Reagan and Romney portrayed themselves as bulwarks against the perils of liberalism in their home states -- Reagan in California, Romney in Massachusetts. Both have benefited from their Hollywood looks. Both have had experience in working with Democratic legislatures.

"Reagan was able to run against Washington, including people in his own party in Washington, by talking about what he achieved as governor and saying he would take those ideas to Washington," said Republican strategist Charlie Black, who was a senior Reagan adviser. "Romney can do the same thing."

To read the rest of the story please visit The Boston Globe.

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