Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney seems to hope the third time is the charm.
Perhaps setting himself up for a third run, Romney is setting his rhetorical sights on Hillary Rodham Clinton, the presumed Democratic candidate.
“How can Secretary Clinton provide opportunity for all if she doesn’t know where jobs come from in the first place?” Romney asked during a speech in Mississippi. That’s a reference to a Clinton speech last year, when she told a crowd: “Don’t let anybody tell you it’s corporations and businesses create jobs.”
Romney also zinged Clinton over her failures in foreign policy. “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cluelessly pressed a reset button for Russia, which smiled and then invaded Ukraine, a sovereign nation,” Romney noted.
He might want to point out that Russia played a part in the 2012 foreign policy debate, when Romney also took on administration policy.
“Russia, I indicated, is a geopolitical foe,” Romney pointed out. “It’s a geopolitical foe, and in the same paragraph I said, ‘and Iran is the greatest national security threat we face.’ Russia does continue to battle us in the UN time and time again.”
Obama was ready with a canned quip. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years,” the president said. “When it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s, and the economic policies of the 1920s.”
President Obama is still getting burned by Russia. “Russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters,” the president said in his State of the Union address. Days later, pro-Russian rebels pushed deeper into Ukraine. Isolated, perhaps. But hardly sidelined.
On domestic policy, Romney called for conservative reform similar to that promoted by his former running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. “[I’ve] met folks who had been in poverty from generation to generation. These we have to help escape the tragedy and the trap of chronic generational poverty,” Romney explained. “It’s finally time to apply conservative policies that improve America’s education system, promote family formation and create good-paying jobs.”
Romney made light of his own wealth, something that dogged him in 2012. “As you’ve no doubt heard, I’m already rich,” he quipped.
Ryan is one of the few Republicans who has actually declared he’s not running for president.
Potential candidates include Romney, Govs. Scott Walker (WI) and Chris Christie (NJ), former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, sitting Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio, among others.
Clinton enjoys much smoother sailing. She currently holds a 50 point edge over her closest potential competitor, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Her lead is so dominating, she’s decided to delay the inevitable and hold off on announcing her candidacy until this summer, at the earliest.
Romney may simply be playing a long game here. After all, even if he were to lose to Hillary Clinton in 2016, he could potentially take her on again in 2020. And if he fails then, there’s always 2024, when the empty bench may finally come to haunt Democrats.