Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who shifted from moderate to hard-line social conservative ahead of his 2008 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, appears to again be reshaping his image ahead of a possible 2012 run.
The Boston Globe reports that Romney, who is about to begin a 25-state, two-month tour that will help him set the stage for a second presidential run, is now shifting his emphasis away from social issues and toward foreign policy and the economy. That fits with the prevailing winds on the right, where members of the Tea Party movement have shown little interest in the gay marriage and abortion fights that animated the GOP in the past.
In addition, Romney is presenting a more "easygoing and accessible" image instead of again offering up "the formally dressed, perfectly coiffed, carefully rehearsed candidate" of the 2008 campaign, according to the Globe.
"Mitt is doing a better job at low-keying it,'' former New Hampshire Republican Party chairman Steve Duprey told the newspaper. "He would be wise to stay with it right through a presidential primary.''
Romney has been spending the summer at his $3.5 million home on New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesaukee, where he drives a Chevy Silverado truck and can be seen in jeans, not suits. (That's an image that has worked well for another Massachusetts Republican, Sen. Scott Brown.) He finished second in New Hampshire in the 2008 cycle despite hailing from nearby Massachusetts, and appears to be focusing on building enough support to win the state (which comes second in the voting calendar and plays a major role in who ultimately wins the nomination) in 2012.
While on a book tour in March, Romney. He said he "needed to do a better job to focus my campaign on the economy and getting the economy right and creating jobs," adding that "my power alley is the economy."
Romney's book, "No Apology: The Case For American Greatness," is grounded in the notion of American exceptionalism and attacks President Obama for showing foreign policy weakness that he argues threatens American global dominance.