When it comes to Mitt Romney's 2016 ambitions, we appear to be going through a series of phases. In Phase 1, Romney publicly vowed not to run
; he ruled out any future campaigns; and it was obvious that observers shouldn't consider him a possible candidate.
In Phase 2, it seemed as if Romney wouldn't run, but for whatever reason, he didn't want to close the door altogether, even as the rest of the field started to take shape.
As of today
, it seems we've entered the third "Good lord, I think he's serious" phase.
Mitt Romney is moving quickly to reassemble his national political network, calling former aides, donors and other supporters over the weekend and on Monday in a concerted push to signal his seriousness about possibly launching a 2016 presidential campaign. Romney's message, as he told one senior Republican, was that he "almost certainly will" make what would be his third bid for the White House.
We kicked around some of the various angles yesterday
, but some new developments shed additional light on Romney's thinking.
We now know, for example, that Romney is telling supporters that President Obama only won because of a good economy
. (Romney spent 2012 telling America that the economy was in the toilet, which makes this explanation for defeat rather odd. And if the economy keeps improving, national appetite for change will be diminished further in 2016.)
There's also Romney's outreach
to his party's far-right base and his assurances to conservatives, according to the Washington Post
, "that he shares their views on immigration and tax policy -- and that should he enter the race, he will not forsake party orthodoxy."
But what I found especially interesting is what Romney would include in his platform
Romney, who made a fortune in the financial sector and was cast by Democrats in 2012 as a heartless businessman, wants to make tackling poverty -- a key issue for his 2012 vice-presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan -- one of the three pillars of his campaign.
That's not a typo. Romney now wants to tackle poverty.
But now, Mr. Car Elevator believes he's ready to focus extensively on "tackling poverty." Won't that be interesting.
We will, by most accounts, get a final word from Romney about whether he's running in "weeks, not months