AP already covered the rebranding of Mitt 3.0 and apparently it’s worked. Sure, you all want him as the nominee again.. that’s a given. But in order to improve on his last outing, Romney will need to attract more of the independent vote, and a few Democrats as well. He’s already managed the latter with the heartfelt endorsement of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Mitt Romney has attracted an unlikely supporter in his possible 2016 White House bid: Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Asked if Romney has any shot at defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016, Pelosi told The Hill, “No, no. I mean, he might be a nice person — no offense, no offense — [but] let’s save you time.”

A smiling Pelosi added, “Let me put it this way — I hope he’s their nominee.”

Obviously Pelosi wants Mitt to be the GOP nominee the same way that I want the Democrats to nominate Bernie Sanders. But which one of us is more crazy? (Tough call, I know.) Romney took one heck of a beating in Iowa last week, and if you look at our first Hot Air primary survey of the year, many of our regular readers would prefer Romney over a romantic evening with Lena Dunham… but not by much. And yet here we are nearing the end of January and the national pool of likely Republican primary voters still seem to prefer Mitt at a 24% clip, nearly double the numbers of Jeb Bush at 13%. The only popular names among the faithful cracking double digits are Ben Carson at 12 and Scott Walker at 11. What gives?

I’ve been though this particular grist mill enough times now to essentially ignore the “conventional” wisdom coming from the Borg Punditry Collective, but we’ve entered 2015 and the actual countdown clock has started ticking down to the first official debates in August. At this stage, I’m willing to continue to give a certain amount of credence to the established theory that the current field simply hasn’t had enough time for the newer players to have some time at bat. Without a fresh face that’s been thoroughly vetted, voters can fall back on what they know, and Romney is an established menu item. That surely boosts his early numbers.

But if too much time slips off the clock and somebody doesn’t drive Mitt down into the rest of the pack, we may have to deal with the fact that he’s still a favored son among not just the establishment money, but the people who show up at the polls as well. I regularly read the most common themes in the comments on this subject, and there is some appeal to the theory that Mitt just helps divide the money between Jeb and Christie even further. But is that enough? They would all have to hang in there for a long time for that to matter. (Some time later in the cycle we’ll have to schedule a separate discussion on how much big dollar donors really matter in the primary. I think they are more effective in the general when the short attention span voters actually begin absorbing television ads. Primary voters tend to seek out information on the web and on cable.)

But for now, Mitt can smile. He doesn’t just have friends with money… he’s locked up the Pelosi vote. And that’s not chopped liver.