Biographer: Mitt grew up in "series of bubbles"

Michael Kranish on CBS'"Face the Nation," Feb. 5, 2012.
CBS News

After back-to-back wins in Florida and Nevada, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has regained some of the inevitability factor that has for months been connected with his presidential campaign.

Still, with new polls showing Romney growing less popular among independents, the game is far from over.

Despite a handful of early-state losses, Newt Gingrich has vowed to fight for delegates all the way to the Republican presidential convention. Romney, meanwhile, is still struggling to connect with voters.

In a political roundtable on CBS' "Face the Nation," Boston Globe reporter Michael Kranish, co-author of the biography "The Real Romney," said the former Massachusetts Governor "grew up in a series of bubbles - a very wealthy community.

"His father was [Michigan] governor; went on a Mormon mission for two-and-a-half-years, and then to Harvard and the world of private equity. So it's been a series of bubbles," Kranish said. "He wasn't a mayor, he didn't run for city council, he's not a glad hander who goes out for drinks with the guys obviously, so he hasn't had that throughout his life. So it's been a difficulty for him.

"Also, he also saw what happened to his father, who said 'I was brainwashed by the generals in Vietnam.'" [George Romney, who was running for the GOP nomination in 1968, saw his remark picked up by the press - and his popularity subsequently plunge.]

"So he wants to be very careful to be scripted," Kranish said. "He hasn't done a lot of interviews, as you've noted, but when he does go out it causes problems when he gets off the script."

Still, Kranish argues Romney is taking steps to address some of his perceived weaknesses.

"Twice in the last couple of weeks he's said 'that was a mistake, I made a mistake,'" he said. "So, it's not the kind of thing he likes to say. He doesn't like to project that image, but he's really had to listen to some of the folks outside the inner circle who are saying, you've really got to get ahead of this, this is causing problems."

As CBS News political director John Dickerson pointed out, Gingrich is not about to throw in the towel anytime soon.

"He does best when he's behind, when everybody's counting him out," Dickerson told CBS' Bob Schieffer. "In fact, he should design a way for that to happen, because that's when he really comes on strong. So, now everybody's counting him out, it's time for him to come back. If this campaign is any judge he's come back already two or three times."

CBS News chief Washington correspondent Norah O'Donnell says the White House is happy to let the Republicans "tear each other apart" until a Republican nominee has emerged.

"It is almost as if the Obama administration is taking a bye week while the Republicans tear each other apart on the Republican primary process field," said O'Donnell. "But I think it's a strategic decision, that the longer this primary process goes on, the more that they see that it drives Romney to the right and it will shorten the amount of time that he can court the Independent vote that, of course, is going to decide this election."