I just listened to Romney give a speech to the members of the Republican Study Committee-- the stong conservative caucus of the U.S. House.
I like Romney. I think he's fairly engaging. I'd say he's probably my favorite candidate thus far, and I wouldn't mind lookin' at him while I'm covering this for a year, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Ha, I kid, I kid.
The speech itself was technically off-the-record, but it was mostly an overview of his positions on everything from spending to Iran. He was enjoyable, but not electrifying, but I think he's got a lot of potential. Punch up a few of those obvious applause lines (of which there seemed far too few), and it would have been a much more rousing speech.
His introduction by Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida (a staunch conservative fighter) was gushy, and hit all the conservative high points.
Being the fiscal dork that I am, my favorite line was, "I'm proud to say there are fewer state employees in Massachusetts now than when I took office." Makes my heart race, I tell ya, and it would make a liberal cry.
He went over the social issues, which are obviously of great interest. He talked about being a fiscal conservative first upon whom the major social issues of the day descended in Massachusetts. As a result, he had to study and make decisions and take positions on things that had never been his areas of expertise or passion. It sounded like the honest story of a man whose mind was changed by circumstances and circumspection. I can get down with that, and I'd hope many social conservatives can, too.
I taped a short Q&A with Romney back in the press area-- well, technically, I taped Romney and some dude's oscillating noggin in the foreground-- so I'm gonna try to get that up today. Good questions about abortion (isn't that one gonna be a dead horse before we even hit '08 at the rate we're going?), judges, and foreign policy.
Word is he went over well among the many conservative Members in the audience, but was asked a bit more about immigration during the Members' Q&A, which separate from ours. More later.
And, I will have a HamNation today. I'm waiting for it to upload to YouTube as I type.