Voters are just getting to know the guy, and there’s a lot there they might not like — so much of it personal, relating to Romney the man and Romney the candidate, according to these GOP officials, even those who praise his strong showing out of the gate in the general election. His Mormon faith. His stiff public appearance. His ideological inconsistency. His trouble confronting and controlling the Donald Trumps of the party. His knack for cringe-worthy stabs at connecting…

In interviews with top officials nationwide, Republicans expressed fear Romney will start, well, acting like Romney again — by improvising, maybe sparking another my-friends-own-NFL-teams moment in a clumsy attempt at connecting with voters. Or his Mormon faith will spook Christians more than is commonly thought – or detected in public polls. A surrogate is virtually certain to say something crazy — like Donald Trump, who seems to double-down on questioning Obama’s birthplace every chance he gets, including in an interview with POLITICO below…

“I don’t see how an independent voter is going to say, ‘I see part of myself in Mitt Romney,’” one operative said. “I was at a family wedding last weekend. This was the South; all Republicans. And their view was: ‘Mitt Romney is the .001 percent – he [made plans to get] a car elevator.”…

“I worry that there is an anti-Mormon thing out there on both sides — Democrats and some Republicans,” said Bill Bennett, the conservative author and host of the radio program “Morning in America.”

“Callers say, ‘I just can’t vote for him’ and then they don’t tell you why. My guess is it’s a Mormon thing. I think most people are coming around. But maybe 5 percent in this election — that could be the difference.”