At first blush, Republican Mitt Romney’s second bid at securing his party’s nomination is a far more casual effort than his previous attempt. He’s foresworn the same level of self-financing, traded in the Brooks Brothers’ two-piece for Gap jeans and a Red Sox-embroidered polo, and his hair even seems to have a little give these days.

But Romney’s everyman reinvention is anything but casual: Every detail — from the ubiquitous references of discount retail giants Wal-Mart and Target to sporting a pickup truck at fundraisers — has been meticulously choreographed for the ex-venture capitalist so eager to shed the perception he’s too slick, too stiff and too phony.


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