Romney to launch 25-state tour, showcase more easygoing side

Is this what he needs to salve the wound from RomneyCare? More denim?

But the most dramatic re invention may be a stylistic one: Romney is seeking to come across as more easygoing and accessible than the formally dressed, perfectly coiffed, carefully rehearsed candidate of the last campaign.

“Mitt is doing a better job at low-keying it,’’ said Steve Duprey, a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party who supported McCain in 2008 and was a vocal Romney critic at the time. “He would be wise to stay with it right through a presidential primary.’’

New Hampshire is the place Romney’s advisers and allies say they see Mitt at rest: a wearer of jeans and driver of a black 2003 Chevy Silverado pickup truck. Some of them are hoping that Romney’s laid-back summer lifestyle will survive Labor Day and endure onto the campaign trail, helping to erase the impression many voters have had of a wealthy candidate almost animatronically focused on winning…

In early July, Romney marched in [New Hampshire’s] Wolfeboro’s Fourth of July parade in jeans and a checked shirt, his hair tousled, a combination that became something of a uniform on his spring book tour. A few days later, he invited national and local political reporters to his Wolfeboro home for an off-the-record barbecue.

Follow the link up top and scroll down to the very end for some humor about his now semi-famous appearance at a fundraiser driving a pick-up truck a la Scott Brown. His strategy is clear now, in case there was any doubt before (which there wasn’t, really): Ignore Iowa, where he probably can’t win anyway, and focus on using New Hampshire as a momentum-builder for South Carolina and Florida. It’s hard to see any major rival like Huck or Palin topping him in NH; some mavericky dark horse like Mitch Daniels or Thune would have to emerge and then spend serious time and money there to build a groundswell. The new laid-back persona is, I take it, also aimed squarely at New Hampshire voters, as they have a rep for preferring “outsider” types to machine politicians (although, with the exception of McCain over Dubya in 2000, I’m not sure why). Good enough, grassroots conservatives? C’mon. He’s trying.