“Mitt Romney went well beyond his standard stump speech at a closed-door fundraiser on Sunday evening, and offered some of the most specific details to date about the policies he would pursue if elected…

“‘I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go,’ Romney said. ‘Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I’m not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we’ve got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states.’…

“Romney said the GOP must offer its own policies to woo Hispanics, including a ‘Republican DREAM Act,’ referring to the legislative proposal favored by Democrats that would offer illegal immigrants a limited path to citizenship, to give Hispanic voters a real choice between parties…

“He said his campaign had been well-covered by Fox News, but that Fox was watched by ‘the true believers,’ and that he knew he would have to reach out to a broader audience in order to win over independents and women voters that will decide the election in November. He painted a picture of a media landscape in which liberal voices won out on television, but conservatives were strongest online.”

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“[N]ow that the former Massachusetts governor is the likely GOP nominee, many Republicans think that the standoffish candidate actually needs to embrace his Mormonism publicly to open a window into his life…

“Nance maintains that if voters could see Romney worshiping, and observe him as a leader of his church, it could go a long way in helping people connect with him. ‘His religion isn’t the issue- he’s the issue,’ says Nance. ‘At some point you need to be honest about who you are. He has an authenticity problem. People don’t get him. They don’t feel that they know the guy.’…

“Bruce Merrill, a senior research fellow at the Morrison Institute at Arizona State University who was raised a Mormon, believes that the key to Romney’s success in the general election may lie in his being as specific and as open as possible about his faith. ‘It’s who Romney is and he can’t really be himself without showing who he is,’ says Merrill. ‘It’s more than a religion- it’s a subculture, a way of life. Mormons socialize together, they do business together, and they raise families together. [Avoiding it publicly] just perpetuates the view that he’s distant.'”

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“As Congress was set to reconvene on Monday, House Republicans said Mr. Romney could go his own way on smaller issues that may help define him as separate from his Congressional Republican counterparts. But, they said, he must understand that they are driving the policy agenda for the party now.

“‘We’re not a cheerleading squad,’ said Representative Jeff Landry, an outspoken freshman from Louisiana. ‘We’re the conductor. We’re supposed to drive the train.’

“Still, party leaders insist that House Republicans and Mr. Romney are united on issues that matter most. ‘On the big issues — spending, taxes, what we do with the deficit — I just don’t see much difference,’ said Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a member of the Republican leadership, ‘and more importantly, I don’t see an escape.'”

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“But where Romney is different is that he is not honest about himself. He could, as he did just recently, stand before the National Rifle Association as if he were, in spirit as well as membership, one of them. In body language, in the blinking of the eyes, in the nonexistent pounding pulse, there was not the tiniest suggestion that here was a man who just as confidently once embodied the anti-gun ethic of Massachusetts, the distant land he once governed. Instead, he tore into Obama for the (nonexistent) threat the president posed to Second Amendment rights — a false accusation from a false champion.

“A marathon of debates and an eon of campaigning have toughened and honed Romney. He commands the heights of great assurance, and he knows, as some of us learn too late in life, that the truth is not always a moral obligation but sometimes merely what works. He often cites his business background as commending him for the presidency. That’s his forgivable absurdity. Instead, what his career has given him is the businessman’s concept of self — that what he does is not who he is. This is what enables the slumlord to be a charitable man. This is what enables the corporate raider to endow his university. Business is business. It’s what you do. It is not who you are. Lying isn’t a sin. It’s a business plan.”

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“Seamus, Mitt Romney’s Irish setter who traveled with his young family strapped to the roof of their station wagon, ‘loved’ those trips, despite once getting ill, Ann Romney told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview…

“‘The dog loved it,’ Ann Romney said. ‘He would see that crate and, you know, he would, like, go crazy because he was going with us on vacation. It was to me a kinder thing to bring him along than to leave him in the kennel for two weeks.’

“Adding to the left’s narrative that Romney had little compassion for the animal is a detail from the 1983 trip that Ann Romney confirmed to Sawyer. The dog became sick, defecating all over itself and the windshield of the car, leading Romney to hose them both off before they continued on the drive to Canada.”

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