Mitt Romney, Up Close

Mitt Romney is in town tonight, and earlier this evening I attended a couple of events. They confirmed my impression that the smaller the group, the more effective he is.
The first was a group of ten or fifteen people, around a conference room table. Romney arrived late, as his flight from Salt Lake City was delayed. He apologized graciously, and jumped into a discussion of the economy. In that setting, Romney was great: commanding, articulate, assured, a superb communicator. I’ve never seen anyone better, either in business or in politics.
The second event was also small, with perhaps 100 people in attendance. Romney was still very good, but even the modest distance that was imposed by standing in front of a small crowd reduced his effectiveness. From there it was on to a much larger rally.
If every voter spent a half hour in a small group with Romney, he would win the election in a landslide. Unfortunately, virtually all voters will get to know him only through television, where he is least effective.
Romney evidently has decided to stake his campaign on his economic expertise. That was pretty much all he talked about; wisely, I think, he worked issues like immigration and entitlements into that framework. Over the next few months, if economic worries continue to mount, Romney’s message may resonate more and more with voters. The nomination contest is far from over. We’ve had many surprises already, and more are sure to come.
UPDATE: This photo was taken at a larger rally later in the evening:
FURTHER UPDATE: The Glenn and Helen Show has a brand new interview with Romney in anticipation of Super Tuesday. Gun rights advocates will be pleased to know that in the interview, Romney pledges to veto any gun control legislation that reaches his desk.
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