Mitt Romney, one of the early presumptive frontrunners for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, is playing as coy as all other jockeying contenders hoping to take on Obama when it comes to when — or, you know, “if” — he’ll announce a run for for the White House. At the same time, though, he’s stumping hard and setting the stage for a run where he’ll try and set himself apart as the experienced businessman on the ballot.
As Romney is doing his thing, his advisers are doing theirs and offering up a look at Romney’s 2012 strategy, which the National Journal‘s Reid Wilson reports might include skipping the Iowa caucuses in favor of bringing home a big win in New Hampshire.
Here’s what Romney’s non-campaign campaign sounds like, from an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show last night:First, the coy bit.
“You know, no decision at this point, Sean. No announcement to make. We’ll give that some thought obviously and we’re doing the things we need to to keep in the public eye and make sure that we’re hearing from people about the concerns that they have,” Romney told Hannity. “But we haven’t made a decision at this point and my guess is the other folks that you’ve mentioned haven’t made a decision either. And yet we’re all doing the things we need to do to keep the option open.”
[TPM SLIDESHOW: Meet The 2012 GOPers: Ex Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)]
Then the stump speech and (soft) jab at his potential opponents bit:
I don’t know who all’s going to get in the race but I do believe that it would be helpful if at least one of the people in the Republican field had extensive experience in the private sector, in small business, in big business, working with the economy. Because frankly not just solving the near-term problems of unemployment — people not getting checks — is going to require someone with that experience but also long-term, we’ve got to have a strong economic foundation to make sure we can stay ahead of the challenges we face like a growing China and a militarily aggressive China. We’re going to have to stay so far ahead that no one ever questions the capacity of America to stand by the forces of freedom in the world.
Romney was, of course, a CEO before he was a governor of Massachusetts, so all that talk about the importance of business experience gives us some hints about what his first TV ads will look like.
Meanwhile, Team Romney is offering their own look at what the race will look like if, “maybe,” Romney runs. From Wilson’s New Hampshire reporting:
Though there is no official campaign, and no strategy decisions have been finalized, Romney’s team has considered running a very different race from the last one. After Romney spent millions of dollars and a huge chunk of time in Iowa, only to finish behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, his strategists have spoken with potential consultants about the prospect of skipping Iowa altogether this time and launching a campaign from New Hampshire.
That strategy first came up last summer in conversations with several possible advisers. But it’s not clear how far along the planning has gotten, and sources emphasize that no final decisions have been made.
Watch Romney run and not run for President on Hannity (starting at 1:45):