By Frannie Carr
Jan. 9, 2012
BOSTON — In the Jan. 8 Republican presidential debate, Mitt Romney’s rivals pounced on the former Massachusetts governor, accusing him of being too partisan, too moderate and too ambitious.
"Just level with the American people," Newt Gingrich retorted. "You’ve been running since the 1990s."
Others have said Romney’s climb to the White House started even earlier. That's one of the revelations in journalist R.B. Scott's new book "Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and His Politics.”
"There are missionary companions of his — back when he was 19 years old — who said he was running for president then," Scott said.
Scott traced Romney's political aspirations back to a mantle placed upon him by his father George W. Romney, a three-time governor of Michigan.
"There are members of the family who say Mitt wouldn’t be running for president if his father hadn’t said 'You’re the next generation; here’s the responsibility you have,'" Scott said.
He thought Romney should tout that lifelong goal instead of shying away from it, as he did in this past weekend's debate when he said that politics "is not a career" and focused instead on his career in business.
Scott, who is Mormon himself, also thought Romney should be more open about his faith. Not talking about it "probably allows people to talk about it more than they would otherwise." It could even be an asset, Scott said, if Romney discussed the relevance, for a would-be president, of Mormon values such as "personal ownership, accountability, owning a piece of the rock — those kinds of concepts."
Whether those still wary of Romney’s faith will come around remains to be seen. In the meantime, New Hampshire state officials are predicting a record turnout for the Jan. 10 primaries.
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