By Christy Strawser
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) Sacrificial lamb or crusader, Michigan native Mitt Romney represented the Republican establishment and delivered a scathing indictment of candidate Donald Trump at an address in Utah today.
Going further, some believe Romney, 68, will eventually attempt to take the reigns himself and challenge Trump as a rival candidate.
“I just put out a book called “Chaos” that is the outsider’s guide to a contested Republican national convention, and in the book I had a chapter called ‘the javelin has landed,’ in an early version, where I had a section arguing that Romney would get in,” said John Yob, longtime political consultant who served as campaign manager for Rick Snyder, national political director for John McCain’s 2008 race and Rick Santorum’s run.
Yob predicted in an earlier version of his book that Romney would show up at the convention and challenge Trump, hence ‘the javelin has landed.’ Romney’s Secret Service name was ‘javelin,’ when he ran against Barack Obama for president. Initially declaring he wouldn’t run again if he didn’t win, his wife, Ann Romney, told people as recently as this fall that her husband was considering another presidential bid. Pundits later said he stayed out because he wouldn’t challenge Jeb Bush.
Now Bush is gone, and new talk about a Romney candidacy is emerging as Trump readies to take the stage in Detroit for a pivotal presidential debate. It comes after he won Super Tuesday, defeating establishment rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz after effectively hip checking legacy candidate Bush out of the race.
Trump is real, and a real threat to establishment Republicans, with his mixed history, ideology, and readily apparent political pragmatism, pundits say. He’s a Christian who fights with the pope, a Republican who invited Hillary and Bill Clinton to his third wedding, and a businessman who previously tried to curry favor with Republicans and Democrats alike.
Enter Mitt Romney.
He started Twitter squabbles with Trump this week, openly attacking the Republican front-runner for issues including failure to make public his tax returns. Trump shot back.
With a preview of his speech to be delivered today before the debate, MSNBC says Romney will declare: “Donald Trump says he admires Vladimir Putin, while has called George W. Bush a liar. That is a twisted example of evil trumping good.”
Only Cruz, Rubio and Kasich have “serious policy proposals” to address the “broad range” of national challenges, according to excerpts from Romney’s speech.
So, is Romney just castigating on behalf of the traditional Republican base or is he considering a run for office?
“No. 1, I think he’s the wrong messenger to hurt Donald Trump. The kind of voters who support Donald Trump are the kind he has problems with,” Yob said.
Trump’s supporters like his outsider status in Washington and Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, is considered an insider, he added.
But that won’t stop Romney from running, he added.
“I think that there is a relatively strong chance that the establishment tries to find an opening for Mitt Romney to run,” he said. “I think they’re certainly going to try to figure if they have a strategy that could be successful.
“The establishment will pull out every trick in the book to stop Donald Trump and one of those tricks will be trying to get Mitt Romney to run.”
Yob believes the end result will be a contested and chaotic Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the first contested convention since 1976.