What defines Mitt Romney

And what about his most memorable moment.


1. What do you consider to be the biggest political strength and weakness of Mitt Romney?

2. If you look at his career, both in business and politics, what was maybe the most memorable moment?

3. Either Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney will lose this election. In case it’s Romney, what do you think will be his future? Do you think he’ll want to stay active in politics, maybe try to run again in four years, maybe consider another role or do you think he’ll leave politics for good?


Dennis HaleAssociate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Political Science, Boston College

1. Romney’s biggest political strength, I think, is his record of competence: as a businessman and governor. That is, under his leadership, the private business that he ran prospered and under his governorship the Commonwealth of Massachusetts saw a gradually improving economy. Given the failures of the current administration, this is a big advantage, and the debates made the contrast between Romney and Obama on the “competence scale” all the more apparent. This is why the polls began suddenly to shift in Romney’s favor almost immediately after the first debate. His biggest weakness is that he is a very wealthy businessman in a country that has never elected a businessman president.

2. Romney stresses his reorganization of the Olympic winter games scheduled for 2002 in Utah. This occupied his time from 1999 until the games were finished, and he took what was a failing organizational effort–with bribery scandals, budget deficits, and other problems–and turned it around into a great success. It demonstrated that his private sector skills and experience could translate into what was at least a quasi-public venue.

3. If he loses, I expect that he would be prominent in the opposition to the President’s agenda between 2012 and 2016. I should note also that Senator John Kerry, one of two senators from Massachusetts, will be up for reelection in the 2014 election cycle. Should Romney lose the presidency, he would certainly consider a run against Kerry for the Senate. As to whether he would run for President again in 2016, that would depend on many things, including who the next Democratic candidate for president would be after Obama leaves the White House. I think Romney could easily defeat, for example, Hillary Clinton.

Maurice Cunningham, Chairman, Department of Political Science, University of Massachusetts at Boston

1. As often happens Romney’s strength is his greatest weakness. Since he has few core beliefs he has proven elastic, moving wherever he perceives the electorate wishes him to b. In conservative Republican primaries he is very conservative. AS a candidate seeking votes from a national electorate, he is more moderate. When running for governor of Massachusetts he was a fiscal conservative and a social issues moderate. The downside is that many voters recognize that he is opportunistic and lacks core principles.

2. If you put aside his gaining the party nomination, his most memorable accomplishment has been universal health insurance as governor of Massachusetts. It is all the more interesting because Romneycare is the model for Obamacare, which Romney now wants to repeal (see answer 1).

3. If Romney loses his wife says he will retire from politics. I believe her. He would have little future in electoral politics after a loss in any case.

Thomas Dumm, Professor of Political Ethics, Department of Political Science, Amherst College

1. His strength is in his organizational ability, and his tenaciousness, as well as his ability to lie well.

2. Probably his saving of the US Olympics. His term as governor of Massachusetts was, with the exception of the health care bill (which was proposed by the Democratically controlled legislature, and which he watered down), was pretty bad. He raised taxes in the most regressive possible way, by raising service fees on all sorts of state activities, and he didn’t run for a second term because he was so unpopular (he only had an approval rating of 34% at the end of his term).

3. If Romney loses, his political career is probably over. The base of the Republican party now is radically right-wing, and they will blame him for the loss, probably nominating someone who more consistently reflects their values, withe Paul Ryan or Rick Santorum.


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