With the cheers of the Republication National Convention still ringing in the ears of the electorate, it’s hard to remember that roughly a year ago, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was like the nerdy middle-aged dad of the Republican Party, someone who made the cool kids roll their eyes and whose presidential potential was exciting and galvanizing mostly to his existing supporters.

Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and even non-candidates like Chris Christie or Sarah Palin got people fired up. Romney elicited the sort of descriptions normally reserved for things like broccoli and dental floss — useful, advisable, practical.

In a word, boring. Or is that boring like a fox? Journalist Ron Scott, author of the biography "Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and His Politics" (Lyons Press, $16.95), said he thinks at least some of the blandness of candidate Romney's steady march to the nomination was by design, a lesson-learned strategy prompted by the failures of his bid for the nomination in 2008.

The Romney of 2012, Scott said, is tougher, shrewder, better prepared and better organized, with rigid discipline, a clear sense of mission and a tendency to be "annoyingly on message." No distractions. No grandstanding. "That's what got him the nomination," Scott said.

The newfound practicality and poise may also just be part of who Romney is. On a superficial level, Romney might appear to be a carbon copy of his father, Michigan governor and former presidential candidate George Romney. Scott said that George Romney's influence certainly helped steer Mitt Romney into politics, but that the son probably also learned to avoid some of the things that were an impediment to his famous father. While the elder Romney was a fearlessly plainspoken man of the people, Scott said, the younger Romney has always been more aloof, cerebral and unswervingly focused.

via Mitt & Mormonism.

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