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Can Romney help Republicans win in 2014?
The defeated GOP presidential candidate is gingerly stepping back into the limelight
He's baaaack.
He's baaaack. Alex Wong/Getty Images
M

itt Romney has kept a low profile since losing to President Obama in the November election. But that might soon change. The former Massachusetts governor tells The Wall Street Journal that he plans to return to the political stage to "help shape national priorities," starting with a three-day summit he's hosting next week for 200 friends and supporters at a Utah mountain resort.

Romney also says he plans to campaign for Republican candidates in the 2014 elections. He says Obama's second-term performance has been "disappointing," although he acknowledges that his own clout was eroded by his defeat. "Having lost the election, I don't look at myself as the person best equipped to prescribe where the party should go, going forward," he tells the Journal.

Will Romney be able to help Republicans make gains in the midterm voting?

He may have already gotten off on the wrong foot, telling the Journal that GOP needs "to translate our message in a way that minorities understand" — an unfortunate turn of phrase that implies the nation's minorities can't comprehend what Republicans are saying, which is sure to remind Republican candidates of Romney's penchant for gaffes.

Steve Benen at MSNBC says Romney has proven remarkably adept at turning off both Democrats and Republicans. "I'm trying to imagine a list of Republicans who would welcome him and choose to campaign alongside him. I can't think of any," Benen says.

It's easy to forget, but in the immediate wake of Election Day 2012, Romney wasn't an especially popular figure with, well, much of anyone. When he spoke to donors about American voters being effectively bought off with "big gifts" such as affordable health care and public education, Romney's standing managed to deteriorate further.

By mid-November, Romney was something of a pariah, with a variety of Republican leaders eager to denounce him, his rhetoric, and his campaign style. [MSNBC]

Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway agrees that Romney is too out of step with his own party's base to be of much help: "It's unclear why they'd want to see him return or why his endorsements in 2014 would matter to anyone." However, Mataconis says, there is one way he might be of assistance.

Now, if by "campaigning" Romney’s people mean fundraising, and specifically persuading many of the big money donors that donated to both of his Presidential campaigns to write checks for Republican candidates for the Senate and House, then I can see a role for Romney to play in the 2014 campaign. As an actual "campaigner," though? Nope, I'm not seeing it at all. [Outside the Beltway]

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami HeraldFox News, and ABC News.

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