(from the Politico. hey...if they are now trying to tarnish you by saying you are "tood good to be true," then you must be doing something right. he's the real deal...POTUS in 707 days...)
Is Romney Too Good To Be True?
By: Roger Simon
February 13, 2007 01:17 PM EST
DEARBORN, Mich. - - Mitt Romney is so good he is almost too good.
Candidates want people to come away from their events thinking “presidential,” not “slick.”
But Romney is so polished and looks so much like a president would look if television picked our presidents (and it does) that sometimes you have to ask yourself if you are watching the real deal or a careful construction.
Romney has chiseled-out-of-granite features, a full, dark head of hair going a distinguished gray at the temples, and a barrel chest. On the morning that he announced for president, I bumped into him in the lounge of the Marriott and up close he is almost overpowering. He radiates vigor.
And he can’t wait to stand next to John McCain on a stage and invite comparison. (McCain, who looks less hearty than Romney, was severely injured while fighting for his country as a Naval aviator. Romney never served in the military, though the band at his announcement played both “Anchors Aweigh” and “The Marines’ Hymn.”)
Romney’s campaign is not flawless. Far from it: Romney selected the Henry Ford Museum as the place to announce for president Tuesday.
And Ford, aside from being a prodigious inventor and businessman, was also a notorious anti-Semite.
It is a mixed message for Romney to send, since he is depending on Americans truly to believe in religious tolerance, because of his own Mormon religion, which has become the subject of much attention.
Saulius “Saul” Anuzis, chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, told me that recent e-mails sent to reporters by the National Jewish Democratic Council raising the issue of Ford’s anti-Semitism “was a partisan hit on Romney.”
“This is a historic site and one of the most visited sites in the Midwest,” Anuzis said. “I don’t think anybody in the Romney campaign even thought about it.”
In his speech, Romney said he chose the location “because it’s filled with cars and memories.” He stood next to a Ford Escape hybrid and an old Rambler. Suspended from the ceiling behind him was a looming, blue-nosed DC-3.
The only mention of religion in Romney’s speech was: “I believe in God and I believe that every person in this great country, and every person on this grand planet, is a child of God. We are all sisters and brothers.”
He hopes so. Greeting Romney outside the door of his hotel room in the morning was a USA Today with a large picture of Romney on the front page and the headline: “Will Mormon faith hurt bid for White House?”
Polls indicate that it certainly might. Romney likes to compare his challenge with the one John Kennedy faced when he became the first Catholic president of the United States in 1960.
But Catholics were about 25 percent of the U.S. population back then and just about everybody knew someone who was a Catholic.
As of 2003, Mormons comprised less than 2 percent of the U.S. population and, as USA Today bluntly put it, it is a religion “that has an unusual theology and a past scarred by racism and polygamy.”
Which is not Romney’s only problem. He has been accused of flip-flopping on key conservative issues, the most important change of mind coming on abortion. Once he was pro-choice and now he is pro-life.
As Romney told the National Journal recently, “I did change my view on abortion. And that happened, as you know, about two years ago.”
Which means he changed his mind on abortion when he was 57, just about the same time he decided to run for president.
What benefits Romney is that all three top Republicans -- McCain, Romney and Rudy Giuliani -- have positions that social and religious conservatives are not happy with.
The power that social and religious conservatives have within the Republican Party is sometimes exaggerated.
They were not that thrilled with George W. Bush when he first ran for president and refused to back an amendment banning abortion. Nor were they thrilled with his father, George H.W. Bush, who once referred to the far right wing of his party as the “extra-chromosome set.” (He later apologized to the parents of children with Downs Syndrome, a disability caused by an extra chromosome.)
Both men ran in the Republican primaries against candidates far more conservative than they were and both won.
But the election of George H.W. Bush was viewed as Ronald Reagan’s third term and Bush’s son was, by virtue of being Bush’s son, the favorite of the Republican establishment.
This time, there is no odds-on establishment choice. McCain comes closest because of his 20 years in the Senate, but because the race is so open, if social conservatives can unite behind one candidate, they could exert a critical influence.
Every Republican running wants to be the social and religious conservatives’ choice. (And it should not be overlooked that candidate Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, is a Southern Baptist minister, and has said: “I do not necessarily buy into the traditional Darwinian theory, personally.” Religious conservatives tend to like that.)
Ronald Reagan is the apotheosis of modern conservatism and Romney used Reagan’s themes and sometimes his phrases Tuesday.
“I believe we are overtaxed and government is overfed,” Romney said. “Washington is spending too much money.”
And: “How is the American family made stronger? With marriage before children! With a mother and a father in the life of every child! With taxes that are lower. And with leaders who strive to demonstrate enduring values and morality!”
And: “I believe the best days of this country are before us because I believe in America!”
If that is pure Ronald Reagan, Romney’s position on Iraq is pure John McCain: Romney believes U.S. troops must stay there and win because if they do not the region will descend into chaos and the troops will have to return.
“I believe that so long as there is a reasonable prospect of success, our wisest course is to seek stability in Iraq, with additional troops endeavoring to secure the civilian population,” Romney said
So can Romney woo and win the Republican right?
“The conservative movement is splintered right now,” said Greg Mueller, who ran the presidential campaigns of Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes. “Governor Romney is working hard to show his stripes as a Reagan conservative. This will help him as long as he isn't just paying lip service to conservative issues.”
“But the Christian right is still looking,” Mueller added. “They are not sold or uniting behind anyone yet.”