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Governor Mitt Romney

March 6th, 2007

We were able to see Governor Mitt Romney today. This is the first presidential candidate I have seen in person this cycle. It was an interesting event. The room was medium sized with a small stage at the far end and a buffet line on the right. I would say it was well attended, maybe about 100 people.

The Event – it really had the feel of a fund-raiser, but still a meet and greet. They asked for money on more than one occasion and asked that you encourage family and friends to contribute. The buffet was surprisingly good for a political event.

The People – I was a little surprised by who was (and wasn’t) there. Only a few past and present elected officials and all of them were openly supporting him. Almost all of Jimmy Duncan’s staff was there (including his son). I was a little surprised to see a few high-dollar Bryant contributers.

The Man – perhaps my expectations were too high, but I wasn’t overwhelming impressed. He didn’t have an impressive way about him and yet he didn’t come across as an ordinary guy. Jenny put it best: he’s a business executive. Thats really how he came off to me. It was like meeting the CEO of your company. I just realized that he wasn’t very charismatic and when he was, it was almost like he knew he should be. He was a pretty good speaker. When answering questions, he tended to ramble a bit. That could be his lawyer side coming out. One other thing I noticed: his back and shoulders were rigid when he was speaking (sometimes when he walked, too).
He had a very even pace, not too fast or too slow.

Of Interest – When asked about his record on Pro-Life issues and rather or not he has flip-flopped in the past on it, he gave an interesting answer. He said that he has never flip-flopped on the issues and has always been personally Pro-Life. He said that when he has run for public office his position was that of enforcing the current law (as he said, “effectively pro-choice”). But, he said, that changed about 2 years ago when the issue of cloning was being debated in his state. He told a story about meeting with an expert that didn’t think there wasn’t a moral issue at debate since they would destroy the embryo at 14 days. He said he decided that he had to take a stand for the protection of life and wrote an Op-Ed in the Boston Globe about it and his position. He likened his decision to that of Ronald Regan and George HW Bush, who, he said, had also rethought their position on the issue.

Most Interesting – I would have to say it was a conversation with one of Governor Romney’s senior adviser. According to him, the Haslam’s have been a great help. With Bill Frist out of the presidential race and the Haslam reputation for fund-raising, it could make a big difference who they support.

Last Note – there was one comment I heard over and over: Mitt Romney was elected governor of the liberial state of Massachusetts as a republican. The implication was that he could win over democrats. Is this true? Who knows. It will be interesting to see how the campaigns try to distinguish themselves in the coming months.


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