More Speculation: Is Romney 2016 Happening?

Posted: Sep 25, 2014 11:45 AM

I really, really don’t think he’ll run. But the chances he might seem to be improving by the day.

Byron York has the latest scoop:

Is Mitt Romney, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination and lost in 2008, ran again and won the nomination but lost the general election in 2012, really thinking about running yet again for president in 2016? Many Republicans have simply assumed not. Romney has seemed to discourage such talk in media appearances, and there has been a general belief that after losing as the party's nominee, the 67 year-old Romney would return to private life for good.

That belief is wrong. Romney is talking with advisers, consulting with his family, keeping a close eye on the emerging '16 Republican field, and carefully weighing the pluses and minuses of another run. That doesn't mean he will decide to do it, but it does mean that Mitt 2016 is a real possibility. Nearly all of Romney's 2012 circle of advisers, finance people, and close aides remains intact. Many developed an extraordinary loyalty to Romney, who, in turn, has kept in close touch with them. Romney talks to some of them quite frequently in conversations that cover daily news, foreign and domestic policy, Hillary Clinton, the Republican field -- everything that might touch on a 2016 campaign. "Virtually the entire advisory group that surrounded Mitt in 2012 are eager for him to run, almost to a man and a woman," says one plugged-in member of Romneyland.

York never goes as far as to say that Romney will take the plunge in 2016, only that Romneyworld is itching for a three-peat and overanalyzing everything he says in the hopes of finding any indication that he’s interested. But if you read the article in-full, there’s an X factor York touches on that even Romney himself can’t control: Jeb Bush.

If Bush runs, it seems clear that Romney would bow out. Ann Romney, for her part, said as much on Your World with Neil Cavuto earlier this week. But if he doesn’t -- and a center-right candidate doesn’t emerge from the fold -- who knows?

The Reagan comparison is irresistible for Romney supporters. The argument goes that if it took Ronald Reagan (of all people) three presidential runs to win the White House, maybe Romney should give it one final go.

I agree with Ann Romney that her husband would have been a "terrific" president. But the problem isn’t that he’s unqualified or inexperienced; it’s that he's distrusted by the base and has trouble winning elections.

Parting question: If Romney runs in 2016 (presuming he does secure the nomination again) will the outcome be any different than it was in 2012? Hmmm.