Mitt Romney’s 2016 Plan: Be Authentic, Ditch Boston

He's considering headquartering a presidential run in Salt Lake City.

mitt romney

Mitt Romney photo via Associated Press

Mitt Romney’s effort to explore a 2016 run for president by airing out potential strategies to the press continues apace. The main word that Romney supporters keep tossing about is “authentic,” as in, how can Romney come across as more recognizably human than he did in 2012 or 2008?

The trick, as Romney considers a third run, is deciding which parts of Romney to emphasize—which aspects of his biography and which pieces of his political philosophy come across most authentically. There is, of course, an irony in deliberating about how to portray oneself as authentic. But, at any rate, The Washington Post‘s Philip Rucker reports that this may involve more talk of Mormonism during a 2016 campaign, and much less of Massachusetts:

Although Romney served as governor of Massachusetts and his past campaigns were based in Boston, he recently registered to vote in Utah. Members of his political circle said they are considering making Salt Lake City, the cradle of Mormonism, his 2016 campaign headquarters.

This isn’t exactly surprising. Romney sold his Boston condo after the 2012 loss. His only residence in the area is a lake house in New Hampshire. The campaign’s headquarters in Boston during the 2012 campaign led to odd juxtapositions, like a planned fireworks show on election night. Fireworks. Over a city that voted four to one for his opponent.

Ever since the premiere of “MITT,” the Netflix documentary that chronicled his 2012 campaign, Romney’s team has expressed the wish that America could have seen during the campaign the more raw, honest Romney that supposedly came across in the film. But in the long history of Romney running for president, this strategy isn’t entirely new, not even the attempt to let America see his religious side. He made a smaller effort in August of 2012, letting the press see him attend church services.

The difference seems to be one of scale. If this plan sticks, Romney will talk a lot more about his Mormon faith. And seated in Salt Lake City, his campaign would instantly have a different tone and emphasis than the one led from Boston. As 80 percent of voting Bostonians would tell you, it’ll also give him a bit more of a hometown hero status this go-around.