THE JEENYUS CORNER
By Sam Youngman
(Reuters) – Mitt Romney won the Republican presidential nomination as a “turnaround man,” whose capacity to reinvent companies, and the 2002 Olympics, could be transferred to the nation and its troubled economy.
But from the outset of his general election campaign-burdened with the lowest favorability rating of any major party candidate since 1984 – it was evident that his most challenging reinvention would have to be Mitt Romney.
And Tuesday night it failed. Willard Mitt Romney came up short, losing his second and likely last campaign for the presidency to President Barack Obama.
“Almost president” is a distinction sought by no politician.
But Romney can take some comfort in coming as close as he did, considering the odds that he faced.
While most candidates try to shape a “story” of humble beginnings and adversities overcome, Romney’s narrative was just the opposite.
The son of George Romney, a corporate chieftain, former governor of Michigan and candidate for president, Romney attended an exclusive private school in the suburbs of Detroit. His was a tale of “hijinx” not hardship, followed by degrees in business and law from Harvard.
While 2008 presidential candidate John McCain’s searing experience as a prisoner-of-war sustained him during his campaign, the best personal trial Romney could muster was his time as a Mormon missionary in France.
Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush could boast of records as governors. Romney had to soft-pedal his signature achievement as governor of Massachusetts – an innovative healthcare program that bore an inconvenient resemblance the Obama administration’s 2010 health overhaul, dubbed “Obamacare.”
And his greatest asset-his record of transforming companies such as Staples turned out to be a liability as well, subject to a savage and relentless advertising attack first by his opponents in the Republican primary and then by the Obama campaign and its allies.
Unlike, Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan, Romney was no “natural” on the campaign trail who could finesse shortcomings.
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