Michael Kranish

More polls are suggesting that the Democrats' attempts to cast Mitt Romney as a self-interested, slice-and-dicing wheeler-dealer are gaining ground with swing-state voters, despite the much-ballyhooed reservations of the mayor of the 68th biggest city in the country.

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Who knows what calculations went into Barack Obama’s decision to “evolve” back to where he’d started on gay marriage in 1996. The timing is striking—after Joe Biden’s blurt on Sunday, there were a lot of pundits and activists arguing that Obama was now behind not only his vice president but most of the country on this issue. Yet he decided to make his move the day after an election, in the swing state of North Carolina, that showed to what extent this is far from a settled issue in many parts of the country, whatever the polls might say.

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As “Mad Men” advances through the 1960s, you knew it was coming: a shout-out to the moderate Republican whose profile grew during the decade to the point where he was, very early on, a leading contender for his party’s 1968 presidential nomination. Yes, George Romney had his moment last night. And his family’s not happy about it. No “Mad Men” aficionado myself, I’ll let someone else recap the moment: In the 1960s-era series, the character  Henry Francis, who in previous seasons worked as a political aide for New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, calls Gov.

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Mitt Romney has decided that light bulbs represent liberalism's soft underbelly. Actually, they don't. The replacement of incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient alternatives is at best a minor inconvenience. (My only complaint is that I can't yet find any three-way light bulbs at my supermarket, though apparently three-way CFLs do exist and can be purchased on Amazon.) And as multiple sources have pointed out, Romney is quite wrong to blame this on "Obama's regulators" because the law mandating the change was signed into law by President George W.

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Since I know everyone is as fixated on trying to understand Mitt Romney as I am, I highly recommend Louis Menand’s piece in the latest New Yorker. It's ostensibly a review of The Real Romney, the new biography by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, but basically another entry in the burgeoning “Just who the heck is this guy” genre. Menand tries to answer a question that I took on in my own review of the biography a few weeks ago—why is Romney such a lousy and unnatural candidate on the campaign trail?

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There was a stretch, a few weeks back, where it was Mitt Romney's detractors in the lib'rul media, led by Frank Rich, who were working overtime to try to divine the "real Romney," the tormented soul hidden beneath the America the Beautiful exterior. Now it is apparently the turn of Romney's admirers to go plumbing for the true Mitt, in an attempt to coax a more genuine and likable candidate to emerge. Take today's column by Kathleen Parker, a loyal Mitt booster who has of late grown slightly despairing about his diminished standing in the public eye.

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Before the week’s out, and while the cheers of the barely 1,000 people arrayed within the Detroit football stadium for Mitt Romney’s big speech today are still ringing in our ears, I wanted to be sure to recommend that everyone read Jason Horowitz’s in-depth Washington Post piece last weekend about Romney’s college years at BYU. This is one of the least-examined chapters in Romney’s life, the years after he returned from his mission in France. Even The Real Romney, the comprehensive new biography by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, skips relatively quickly through the BYU years.

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What Would George Do?

There's a remarkable bit in the Real Romney, Michael Kranish and Scott Helman's new biography of Mitt Romney, where they describe George Romney starting his campaign for president in 1967, and making clear that he did not share his church's less than enlightened views on race: "Appearing in North Carolina, he took on segregationists who opposed civil rights measures on the grounds of states' rights, saying, 'As far as I'm concerned, states have no rights.

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The Outsiders

See if you can tell which of the following passages are from The Obamas by Jodi Kantor and which are from The Real Romney by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman. The answers are at the end of this column. No peeking! a) “‘[Predecessor] had a genuine curiosity about the people in the building and what made them tick, and how to develop functional relationships that proved to be productive in the clinch,’ said [politician].

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