Is Romney 2012: The Hillary Clinton Of 2008?

From the outset, Mitt Romney has been the front-runner for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Now the former Massachusetts Governor finds himself entangled in a real dog fight with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Could Romney trip like Hilary Clinton did in 2008? Politico's Ben Smith and Maggie Haberman weigh in:

For Mitt Romney this December, it’s beginning to look a lot like Clinton.

Like the great, fallen front-runner of 2008, here is another well-funded, Establishment-blessed, presumptive nominee whose supposedly firm hold on his party’s greatest prize seems to be slip-sliding away.

There are differences to be sure, most centrally that Romney has yet to face a Barack Obama-like, central foe (though Newt Gingrich is now auditioning convincingly for that role) but instead has fought a series of rear-guard actions against a series of candidates-of-the-moment.

But the similarities, particularly to veterans of Hillaryland circa 2008, are remarkable.

Romney may have had to fight off frontal assaults from a series of foes - Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and now Gingrich - but he has not had to counter what the Clinton team came to view as the Kennedyesque, once-in-a-generation political skills of Obama.

Romney may well be the Clinton of 2012 – but allies argue that Clinton would have beaten a candidate with Gingrich’s organization, a boast that may bode well for the former Massachusetts governor.

“What failed for Hillary still might work for Mitt,” said one former Clinton supporter. “The GOP race in 2012 is far more volatile, and Gingrich is especially prone to self-destruction, so Mitt’s ‘Last Man Standing’ strategy might work. There was never a realistic chance that Obama would self-destruct: nothing in his record or rhetoric or background or temperament. Newt is the opposite.”

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published this page in In The News 2011-12-13 14:02:00 -0500
Analysis & Political Strategy