Romney Plays the Serious Republican Card

A smiling crowd awaits Mitt Romney in front of the Republican Party’s brick building in Fairfax, northern Virginia. A week after Barack Obama’s visit to this crucial state (which had voted Democrat in 2008 but then elected the conservative Gov. Robert McDonnell) “Mitt” came to support the Republican candidates in the local elections of November 2012.

In shirtsleeves, an elegant silhouette with his brown hair slicked back and wearing a polite smile, Romney has the allure of the young man of means which he undeniably is. His father was governor of Michigan. He had a career in business before straightening up the organizing committee of the Salt Lake City winter Olympic Games, then he was elected governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 — a notable performance in the Democratic fiefdom of the Kennedys. The entire campaign consisted of highlighting his managerial experience. His televised debates, in which he appeared competent, partially rubbed out the “capricious” image which had stuck to him since the 2008 campaign. Everyday, his team, real prowlers, published precise online attacks against his adversaries.

This strategy is starting to pay off. Of the main states which hold their primaries very early, Romney leads the polls in New Hampshire and Florida, and he is neck and neck with African-American businessman Herman Cain in Iowa and South Carolina. “He will win the vote, its certain,” affirmed Bart Marcois, a former diplomat and volunteer in Fairfax. He is “the only one capable of beating Barack Obama.”

4 percent and 15 percent in the polls

In a recent CBS survey, however, Romney was outstripped by seven points by the larger than life Herman Cain (40 percent to 33 percent), an unknown from Georgia who, with his volubility and lapidary style, seduced a Republican electorate in search of a “heartfelt” candidate. His opposition, the rather contrived ex-governor of Massachusetts, appeals to their reason. According to a study carried out in Ohio, Cain is perceived as “friendlier” and Romney as “more competent.” Another survey by Quinnipiac University also puts Herman Cain in the lead with 28 percent against only 23 percent for the patrician of Massachusetts.

But Romney’s supporters are not worried. “Cain is brilliant, but his campaign is not serious,” said Bart Marcois. “He does not have the adequate organization to win the presidential election, he just wants to sell his book!” An article in the New York Times exposes “the chaos” of his administrative staff. His last advertisement showed his chief of staff puffing on a cigarette and leading cowboys who talk up “real men” — triggering satirists. “This lack of professionalism explains why Romney attacks above all Perry, who, with the money of Texan billionaires, could keep going until March, then break into the South,” Marcois analyzed. Perry’s economic program has gone unnoticed in the press, the Texan governor having said, the same day, that he “doubted” the President Obama’s American birth. Since then, he “slogs” to pacify the controversy and oscillates between 4 percent and 15 percent in the polls, losing ground to Cain’s benefit.

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