CPAC embraces the new Mitt Romney

“In 2008, people had this perception of Mitt Romney as this kid sitting in the front of the classroom with his hand up,” said Gary Marx, a conservative adviser to Romney’s ’08 campaign. “Now he’s taking a low key approach – picking and choosing his spots to make his voice heard, and it’s worked very well for him. I think you’ve seen the full embrace of the conservative movement from Governor Romney.”

Romney’s aides believe that while his potential rivals – notably former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin – have reduced their stature by flailing at every passing cable news slight, Romney’s reticence has enlarged him. “He’s not in a place where you need to chase every car,” said Romney’s media consultant, Russ Schriefer…

“I think some people would say he hasn’t been above the fray, that he’s been hiding from the fray,” said Alex Castellanos, a Republican adman and adviser to Romney’s 2008 campaign who is no longer part of his circle. “The biggest issue in America for the past year has been what he used to tout as his signal accomplishment, and unfortunately Mitt Romney was nowhere to be found.”