Commentary Magazine


Romney Hits His Stride as a Campaigner

It is a commonplace that Mitt Romney is a much improved candidate since he began his quest for the presidency back in 2007. He did much better in the debates against fellow Republicans earlier this year and did very well indeed against President Obama this fall. (To be sure, as both Jennifer Rubin and Peggy Noonan have pointed out, Obama’s essential arrogance, humorlessness, and disdain for those who disagree with him shone through in the debates when he had to be without prepared text and teleprompter).

Romney has also greatly improved as a campaigner. He is no FDR, with that magical rapport with the American people that was so remarkable for a Hudson River aristocrat. Nor is he a Bill Clinton, a born glad-hander who just loves—and draws energy from—a crowd. But Romney is now much more comfortable in front of an audience than he used to be and even seems to be enjoying it, which certainly didn’t use to be the case.

He spoke in Ohio yesterday in front of a big crowd that was enthusiastic to say the least. Power Line has the whole speech and I would recommend listening to it. Poll numbers and punditry are all very well and good, but the rapport between the candidate and his audience, the vibes that you can feel, tells you a lot too about how a campaign is going. And Romney’s campaign is obviously going very well indeed. It bears no resemblance to the dispirited McCain campaign of four years ago.