Out of touch. Elite. Mormon. Flip-flopper.
Those descriptors sum up the national reputation of the man, Mitt Romney, even after $2 billion of campaign cash tried to define him as simply “president.”
I was one of the four original “Evangelicals for Mitt,” a group who supported — and tried to encourage our Christian brothers and sisters to support — Gov. Romney. We began working in 2006, started a website, sponsored conferences and generally talked to anyone who’d listen about why evangelicals should throw their support behind the only Mormon candidate. (This, even when there were evangelical options.)
One of the most dispiriting aspects of the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns is that people never “got” Governor Romney and his family. He was criticized by both the left and right.
Mike Huckabee — a Baptist preacher, no less — maligned him by slyly insinuating in a New York Times interview that Mormons believed Jesus and Satan were brothers. In “Game Change,” he was quoted as saying he didn’t think Gov. Romney “had a soul,” and he also characterized Gov. Romney’s suggestion to invest more in high-yield stocks as “Let them eat stocks.” (Politico wondered if Huckabee’s animosity toward Gov. Romney caused him to run the first spite-based presidential campaign in history.)
And that was from one of his Republican rivals.
Democrats were not kind either, accusing him of mistreating his beloved family pet Seamus and insinuating he caused the death of a woman who died from cancer.
Once stigmatized from both sides, it was hard to recapture the narrative. Even worse, Gov. Romney’s campaign team seemed reluctant to let America know about Mitt Romney the man versus Mitt Romney the candidate.
Last week, Netflix released a new trailer for a movie called “Mitt.” Is this another character assassination of Gov. Romney? Or, at long last, will it be a chance to see the real man without the spin of rivals or campaign staffers?
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