I had the pleasure this morning of attending a breakfast meeting with Mitt Romney. In person, I found him very impressive. Up close, he has a powerful presence, more so than one might think from the persona he projects on stage. His talk, which focused on management, was good; Romney has a remarkable ability to instill confidence that seemingly-intractable problems can be solved with the proper leadership and with techniques that are common in private industry.
Afterward, I asked several people what they thought of Romney. All were enthusiastic, with one exception. A friend who has personal experience with Minnesota’s caucus system wondered whether Romney’s pitch, which centers on management rather than ideology, would sell with party activists, as opposed to the business people who attended today’s breakfast. He suggested that a Minnesota Republican caucus group would be put to sleep.
An interesting point. Romney’s style is cool and cerebral. While he obviously brings a great deal of intensity to his work, that intensity is generally absent from his public style. I think this is one reason he does so well on television, a medium that tends to reward coolness and can make intensity look like a fault. How well he can fire up a partisan audience remains to be seen.
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