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Why can't Mitt Romney catch fire with conservatives?
February 13th, 2012
03:16 PM ET

Why can't Mitt Romney catch fire with conservatives?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Mitt Romney's not selling what conservatives want to buy.

His focus on jobs and the economy just isn't connecting with the right wing of the GOP.

Peter Beinart writes in The Daily Beast that the Republican base is more fired up about how to keep government from destroying liberty than how to use government to grow the economy.

Yes, conservatives see shrinking government and boosting the economy as related, but their focus is on greater freedom.

It helps explain the success of many of the GOP candidates who have caught fire this time around - from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and currently Rick Santorum.

All of them have described the 2012 election on some level as a struggle between government tyranny and individual freedom.

Chances are in November, more Americans will want to hear about how the next president can fix the economy and create jobs - which would play into Romney's strengths.

But for now he needs to figure out how to make conservatives like him.

And, here's a hint: His speech at the Conservative Politcal Action Conference is not the answer. In it, Romney described himself as a "severely conservative Republican governor." That's just awful.

Severely conservative?

It once again highlighted his problems on the right.

But Romney did get some good news over the weekend. After the Santorum sweep last Tuesday, Romney narrowly defeated Ron Paul to win the Maine caucuses, and he won the straw poll vote at CPAC.

And there's this: Should Romney become the nominee, conservatives could fall into line faster if they think it means defeating President Obama.

Here’s my question to you: Why can't Mitt Romney catch fire with conservatives?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • GOP • GOP Ticket • Republican Party • Republicans
soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. Jenna Roseville CA

    Why can't Mitt Romney catch fire with conservatives?

    Wet wood never catches fire Jack.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    February 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  2. Annie, Atlanta

    Conservatives are people, too. He doesn't care about the poor, he though we should just let the car industry die (the hell with all those jobs, I guess), he thinks the foreclosure process should play out even though some banks can't prove they actually own the mortgages, he offshores his money to avoid paying taxes to the country for which he wants to be the President and Commander in Chief. He wants to cut taxes, including his own, in half and he pays less than 14% now. He has taken a stand on social issues, both for and against, sometimes in the same day. Who is he? What are his values? Does he actually have any. He tied his dog to the top of his car for a 12 hour trip, which should disqualify him from having any kind of power over humanity, period. And he comes off thinking the presidency is owed him, which is very off-putting. And this is just off the top of my head, but I'll stop here.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  3. Joe R - Houston, TX

    Because he isn't one of them

    February 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  4. Bill West

    The problem with Romney is that he simply does not understand the way middle class people truly feel. He has never had to interact with them on a personal level and has lived his life as the life of the privileged, upper class. He has no clue how we feel or what means the most to us. But, it really doesn't matter. The corporate and financial institutions have anointed him and he will get the nomination regardless of whether or not he ever connects with the conservative base. Money will buy him the nomination.

    Bill
    Alabama

    February 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  5. MARK, OKLAHOMA CITY

    Jack, considering that Obama is fiddling while Rome burns on a fire stoked with $3.8 TRILLION in spending, the fact that Romney is only "smoldering" with conservatives doesn't bother me a bit.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  6. Bill of New Mexico

    Republicans themselves state:

    Mitt is not a conservative. Mitt is a Morman. Mitt is a flip-flopper.

    Mitt is the author of Massachusetts' Health Care–the forerunner of Obama Care.

    If the Republicans are not happy with these clowns–why should Independents? Independents are sick with the lot!

    The Republicans are going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!

    February 13, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  7. Russ in PA

    Because he isn't a true conservative? For that matter, how many are other than Ron Paul? Which of the so-called top three candidates have actually voted against undeclared wars and large government spending and bail outs?Which one, other than Paul, doesn't want to turn the USA into a police state? Which one, other than Paul, wants to actually cut government and spending? So there is the answer: Romney isn't a conservative...

    February 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  8. Elizabeth From Toronto

    He is not mean-spirited enough and is not totally oblivious to the world outside of the USA.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  9. Mike S., New Orleans, LA

    There once was a Romney named Mitt
    Who could flip and then flop and then flip
    So rich, without hesitancy
    He purchased the presidency
    And left us a one percent tip

    February 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  10. tom bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    Romney isn't a fanatic. When Bachmann, Trump, or Palin incite the pitch forks and torches, they have a crazed look in the eye. When Romney tries it, there ain't no way to hide his lyin' eyes.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  11. Ann from Charleston SC

    Romney is like water – he will fit into any vessel into which he is placed. Conservatives, as well as the rest of us, can't figure out who he is or where he stands on the issues.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  12. tom bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    Yes. The whole world is learning the economy needs real stimulus. When working people have money they buy groceries, clothes, and spend the nation into job growth. Middle class money isn't like Republican going to the Cayman Islands and Swiss bank accounts.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  13. Paul - North Carolina

    Because Mitt is not a conservative. He is also neither a liberal nor a moderate. He trys so hard to be all things to all people that Mitt winds up being a huge nothing. Actually, he is the Proctor & Gamble candidate. Each year or so they coin a new brand name, develop a slick new package, fill it full of the same crap they've been selling for years and then market it as the solution to everything that ails you. Sorry, Mitt, we're smarter than that. Why don't you give up this charade and go back to something you're good at: like firing people.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  14. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    He can't win conservatives because he's not Draconian.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  15. John from Alabama

    Jack: It is simple, Mitt Romney, is not a conservative and the Republicans know it. If it qwacks like a duck it must be a duck, but Mitt Romney is no duck. No matter how Mitt Romney tries to frame his story for being President, he will never convince the Republican base, he is a conservative.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  16. Paul From Austin Texas

    Bcause it is all to clear that he is trying to tell people what they want to hear and not his true standings on any matter.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  17. Jim, Denver CO

    Jack,
    Because he really is a moderate, and is not radical enough for the ultra-right evangelicals that have a stranglehold on the Republican party.

    February 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  18. Conor in Chicago

    He will once he is the nominee but that will only last until there is a 3rd party/Independant challenger. No one ever talks about the Citizens Elect on-line candidate that everyone will be voting on in a few months. That will either be hijacked by the Ron Paul crowd or the evangelical crowd. It will completey change the dynamic of this election. If the 3rd party candidate is a Conservative, like perhpas Snatorum, they will vote for him. If not, they will vote Romney lest they be damned to hell for voting for a Democrat...

    February 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  19. JD in NH

    Mr. Romney turns into whatever the crowd he's standing in front of wants him to be. If Republicans elect him, they have only a 50/50 chance he'll actually turn out to be a true conservative.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  20. Rob

    well when your talking about a flip flopper who's state finished second to last in job creation and has pretty much wrote Obama care. you start getting the feeling he might as well be Obama.On every single issue so i don't why hes getting votes jack i think we've lost are way in this country truly

    Ron Paul 2012

    February 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  21. Dave - Phx

    Romney is not far right enough for the Republican base. He won't catch fire, because he is dishonest and everything that is wrong with America today. Neither Republicans or Romney are trying to keep the government from destroying liberties, in fact it's the exact opposite. They want to put moral controls on everyone and want the govenerment to enforce it. That is not less government.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  22. Pete in Georgia

    Probably because untra conservatives are looking for perfection, a squeaky clean, totally right wing soldier. They are about as flexible as a bridge girder.
    Sad and unrealistic in today's America.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  23. Bert from L.A.

    Hi Jack, Romney’s problem is the same as every other Republican candidate for president; he has no mojo and you can’t fix having no mojo. When Romney can’t win 50% of the Republican vote nine months before he needs to win more than 50% of all votes, it means Romney’s 2012 leadership will be restricted to leading the Republican House majority out of the House.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  24. Paul P.

    I don't Conservatives are lacking focus right now. They seem distracted by wandering in and out of different social issues, gripes about the media, foreign policy and topics relating to the role of government. If their agenda was focused on the economy like it should be, Romney would be a more clear choice, but I don't know if Conservatives can agree on what their biggest concerns are.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  25. Paul P.

    Conservatives are lacking focus right now. They seem distracted by wandering in and out of different social issues, gripes about the media, foreign policy and topics relating to the role of government. If their agenda was focused on the economy like it should be, Romney would be a more clear choice, but I don't know if Conservatives can agree on what their biggest concerns are.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  26. Conor in Chicago

    Romney doesn’t catch fire with Conservative because he’s not a conservative. It’s really not that hard to understand. It’s the same way that Obama never caught fire with Socialists and Communists. Obama is not a Communist or a Socialist, no matter what Fox News says.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  27. Daniel Hull

    Romney wants to buy the election just like he bought tickets into the CPAC convention for voters. He thinks since he has all the money he should be able to buy the election. Anyone with an ounce of salt can see through his attack ads just like South Carolina and the Midwest. Plus he can't even claim to be a true Reagan Conservative when he viciouisly broke Reagan's Golden Rule about going after a fellow Republican. If it wasn't for his Romneycare Template the Democrats wouldn't have been able to draft Obamacare.

    Troy, MO

    February 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  28. Larry Feierstein-Denver

    Catch fire? He can't even catch a cold. He has been running so long he has no clue where he is running to. Brokered convention, just watch. All the money, all the wins, just not enough. Stop the madness Mitt.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  29. Jeff In Minnesota

    If the GOP wants to take back the White House, then they need to rally around someone that has an even chance of making it happen and that is not Santorum or Gingrich. In an election, Santorum and Gingrich are only going appeal to only people that would vote for a Republican regardless. After this primary season, there is no way for either Santorum or Gingrich to convince independents and GOP moderates they are not right wing reactionaries. The polls continue to confirm this fact and the GOP leadership seems to continue to deny the polls. Santorum and Gingrich are Barry Goldwater in 1964 all over again. Interesting how history can repeat itself isn't it?

    February 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  30. Kim , Dodge City, Ks

    You mean other than being a Mormon? I don't get it either. He's the poster child for the 1% club, pays relatively little in taxes, is a corporate raider, loves to fire people, keeps his loot off-shore and has the personality of a con man. You would think that Republicans would be ready to lift their prom dress for this slickster.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  31. Samuel, Ohio

    Mitt can't catch fire with conservatives because he isn't one. President Romney would be indistinguishable from President Obama because of his status as a big government Washington elitist and because he flip flops on every policy under the sun. But let's not forget that Romney hasn't stolen Maine from Paul just yet – only 84% of the caucus results are in.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  32. larry dillon

    Well he's not catching on with the conservatives because hes not a conservative hes a moderate.I think its a good thing to be moderate.I myself am a bleeding heart liberal but i still want moderates to control things.I don't know how he or anyone can appeal to the extreme right and then reign it in for the general.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  33. Noel Sivertson New Mexico

    Because's not a conservative? He neither looks like a conservative, walks like a conservative, nor quacks like a conservative. Why would anyone think he's a conservative?

    February 13, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  34. Ascott C

    With his stances on the left, right and center, he's reduced himself to a parody of the Three Stooges: Flip, Flop and Flipflop Romney. The only conservatives who support him are the ones who despereately hope his "Severely Conservative" persona will bang the other two's heads together.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  35. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    He's caught fire with the leadership of the movement. The followers will get more excited as time goes on. His main problem is demographic. There are few living committed Republicans than there were in 2008, at least in some states – although many have likely fled to the sun belt permanently, however their voting strength will be offset by Simpson Mizzoli babies and newly naturalized immigrants, as well as Latino voters in general, who won't be going back to the GOP any time soon. His bigger problem is that if the economy continues to recover, moderates will stay with Obama.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  36. MYSTEROIUS

    He turns ME off, and I'm a Democrat. He's too wishy washer, and pretty much, blows which everway the wind blows. That being said, why do so many Republicans that are running for office hate our government so much, that they want to eliminate it?

    February 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  37. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Very simple; they aren’t absolutely certain that he intends to completely destroy the middle class and eliminate all taxes for the wealthy by the end of his first day in office. They are afraid he might show an iota of mercy for the rest of us, like wait until the second day to eliminate whatever few rights we may still have left, end any and all government payments, refunds and entitlements to us and raise our taxes to make up for the tax free environment they envision for the wealthy.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  38. Ken from Pinon Hills, California

    How can you catch fire with a myth? The last time I looked the last supposedly real conservative, Ronald Reagan, signed into law a few trillion dollars worth of spending while dosing in the White House.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  39. David R Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Jack,Because for the 10th time.He is not what they want..................that shouldl be clear by now
    David

    February 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  40. Robert Florida

    Mitt Romney may not be the most desirable candidate but never underestimate the unpopularity of Obama. If Romney becomes the nominee (like him or not) no one will just stay at home. They’ll come out of the woodwork to support him if for no other reason than to vote against Obama. With a stagnate economy and real unemployment at approx 15% counting those (un-employed, under-employed and the ones who’ve just given up looking) we have no choice. It’s a vote to save our future.

    February 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  41. Ed from Texas

    Because he's not a conservative and they know it.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  42. Fred Allan in Cleveland, Mississippi

    Jack, the reason Romney can't catch fire with conservatives is because he isn't a conservative. He's a moderate, or as Newt Gingrich has called him a "liberal". A conservative is someone who doesn't change their positions. And flip-flop Mitt has changed his postion on almost every issue.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  43. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York

    Jack,

    It's too late. Governor Romney has used all the conservative fuel to self-immolate.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  44. jerry c.

    because, truth is mitt romney is faaaaaaaaaaaaaar from being conservative, he pretends to be pro gun, he was the governor to massachusetts they they have some of the stickest gun law's in the state's, he said he would of signed the NDAA, HE also supported obamacare when governor,he wasnt so quick to denounce obamacare a few years ago. hes not conservative at all and people know this. Did i really have to spell it out for you jack?

    February 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  45. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: It is quite simple---they don't trust him nor do they like him--the old saying, "you can touch the spots of the lepoard, but you can never move them."

    February 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  46. Karl in Flint

    The conservative base is looking for Camelot. That mystical land that has never existed. They have been sold a bill of goods by the Tea Party leaders that they need to take back their country, but aren't sure from where or what and they don't realize Mitt Romney is the only one still running that has any chance in November of actually getting elected because the he has to attract a lot of Independents to do it. The other three are either too religious, too immoral or too loonie to the masses of voters that will decide the election. Mitt may not overwhelm them now, they are still in conservative dreamland, but come the convention he will be the nominee.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  47. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    Romney is a robot. He is programmed what to say, what to wear, how to move, etc. And his in-authenticity is obvious-even to the extreme right-wingers.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  48. Craig

    Lets face facts here Jack,
    We can all see the prejudice of the conservatives because Mr. Romney is a Mormon. The Republicans will never admit it, but its there!!!!.............There is room in the other tent for Mr. Romney. He cheapens himself associating with that ilk.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  49. diridi

    people lost faith in republicans. This election is Rich v/s Middle Class Americans. True.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  50. Oliver El Paso, TX

    I do not think he is censer when he speaks. He got to much money, to care about poor, middle class people. He dose not looks Conservative, he looks too dam RICH!

    February 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  51. Eugene Myers Flat, CA

    I hate to say it Jack but I believe it's only because he's a Morman.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  52. Susan-NJ

    He's not trying to win the conservative vote alone whch will not get him into office, he's trying to be all things to all people-which is wet mop politics and won't get him into office either.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  53. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Mitt's a wannabe conservative but is a closet liberal trying to be something in order to win in November or should I say buy the office with his rich friends money. He is a typical Republican who doesn't have a plan that is viable to create jobs since his main goal is to cut jobs in the U.S. and create them in China.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  54. David of Alexandria VA

    I'm worried that Romney can't catch fire with anyone. He's probably technically exactly what we need for the country - someone who can solve problems, run stuff, and motivate businesses to grow. But, he needs a drama coach or something to get his message across.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  55. Jennifer M in Winnipeg

    Because he has no fire in his belly. Romney is like most mega rich people ... they think that things should be 'given' to them and not have to work for them. Romney is somewhat narcissistic as well. He is so full of himself that he thinks he has the nomination in the bag, just because of who he is. I hope he wins ... because if he does, he will most certainly lose the General Election.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  56. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    Can a wet blanket catch fire? I think the answer is NOT!

    February 13, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  57. Emmett M. Smith

    Well Jack, it is impossible for water to catch fire! It is also as clear as tap water that Romney will do or say anything tol be elected- and frankly,I think he's all wet! Emmett Smith, Mobile, AL

    February 13, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  58. Peter, Tarrytown, N.Y.

    Romney is political opportunist. He wants to be President. He will support whatever postition is supported by the group he's addressing. He has the politcal morals of an ally cat in heat.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  59. Martha Brooks

    Romney is the Ken Doll of politics. Everything about him, from his jeans to claims of being unemployed, screams "phony." Even Republicans can sense that, so his chances of catching fire with anyone aer slim to none. Best he can hope for is that he is less repulsive than his opponents.
    Rew, PA

    February 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  60. Bobby Freel

    Why? Because you can't fake sincerity, and you can't pretend to have core beliefs. It's that simple.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  61. Greg Rockford, IL

    Because he is not "conservative," he is "moderate"

    February 13, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  62. truefax

    Because he beilves in a star trek religion. Otherwise he's the picture perfect GOP candidate heartless, ruthless and greedy.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  63. rex in portland, oregon

    Doh.

    Romney lies a lot. He is not a conservative. All conservatives know this. Ergo he will never "catch fire" with conservatives.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  64. beevee

    Simple, because he behaves and talks like "panderer in chief' and this confuses and turns off everyone including the conservatives.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  65. Augustine

    The bottom line is that Romney is not coming across as a person with true core convictions. He reminds me of that apparently very smart guy you work with but don't want to have lunch with.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  66. todd

    He isn't catching fire because when he was govenor of Maine, he was centrist, or even liberal. He promoted marriage equity, and a woman's right to choose.

    Now his views are 180 degrees different. He wants a homophobic amendment in the Constitution, he wants women to give up control over their own bodies, and he wants to cut costs to Medicaid and welfare so he can lower taxes for the top 1%.

    The reason the right doesn't like him is that Romney is willing to make such radical changes to his views based on the latest polls. He gives sows mistrust on the right because he is so contradictory in his beliefs.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  67. Tommy Juanso

    Romney can't catch fire with conservatives, or anyone else, because Romney is like Derrick Zoolander. He is vapidly handsome, "can't turn left" and seems to only be able to go right when he panics, and has some really bad quotes recently.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  68. Jon in Tempe, Arizona

    Ummmmm......because he is not a conservative. Mitt romney is a chameleon politician. He will say whatever is in vogue to get himself elected. Whatever the internal polling is saying is what he believes. He is unprincipled.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  69. KC

    Simple Jack, he'll say anything to win but nobody believes him.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  70. Tarra

    Because he is a liberal-Democrat disguised in GOP clothing.....You think? I do!!!!1

    February 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  71. James

    The reason he isn't catching on is because he is really a democrat , and secondly because of his religious beliefs.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  72. Ron Aitchison British Columbia Canada

    I think it is simple Jack. He is not a true Conservative.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  73. Sirned

    Romney needs to find out who he is and why he believes what he believes. Right now he seems to be just saying what the right wants him to and people sense that. Take the mask off Mitt..

    February 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  74. Gordo from NJ

    Simple. Unlike the other Republican candidates, he's not totally crazy.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  75. Bob

    Because he isn't crazy. He hasn't catered to the TeaParty and has yet to get the support of Palin or Bachman. He is the only candidate palpable for Democrats. Santorum and Gingrich will have a hard time getting the support of undecided independents and Democrats during the election. Romney has the best chance to win the election if he is the nominee.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  76. Greg Williams, Chattanooga

    Mitt Romney can't catch fire with the conservative base because the tea party-influenced base is so far right of Atila The Hun that no one except Santorum can appeal to the Dark Ages. The GOP's social stance eliminates anyone who is in the 21st Century.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  77. Beverly Raws

    Because he is not. If Republican voters do not see through his winning any way he can campaign, then they deserve to lose the election. The best indication of future behavior is past behavior. He was never conservative when I lived in MA.
    Dallas, TX

    February 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  78. EarlGrayHot

    Because he's dull and lies and flipflops constantly? Because he's catering to the extemist Tea Party idiots? Because his past is sketchy and here I'm referring to reports he tried to push women in his church into having abortions early on while now he's pretending to support anti-abortion factions? There are so many reasons.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  79. Jim in Dallas

    Because he's not a conservative.... Duh Jack. He's as fake as a 9 dollar bill, and he has a different message for any audience that he wants to get votes from. Doesn't seem to matter to him that he can talk two different beliefs to two different audiences and have them be exactly opposite, but it does to most of America.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  80. Joe

    Romney doesn't resonate with me because I don't think he knows what it's like to be me. The man is so rich, he lives in an entirely different reality than the rest of us.

    Ron Paul does resonate with me, however. The guy lives in a modest house, about a $300,000 home... when all the other candidates live in multi-milllion dolllar ones. He is the only Republican candidate that served in the military. He cares about personal liberties. He wants to slash the budget.

    Look, I was severely in debt 4 years ago. I tightened the belt like a madman and now I have a huge surplus of funds. Ron Paul seems the only guys who gets this. If I can do it, our government can do it. The other candidates, though, are the same whether they are Democrat or Republican– they want to keep us in these endless foreign involvements that are costly.

    Anyway, that's my answer to your question, Jack. And, for the record, I voted Obama last time around. His "Change", however, did not happen– it was just like GW Bush all over again.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  81. Tom Minervino

    All he has to do is fibure out what they want. If he can do that he may get thier vote and best of all he might tell the rest of us what it is.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  82. mary coziahr

    romney just doesn`t have the "spark" to get the fire going....he`s like trying to light at a July 4th picnic.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  83. Kallen - Minnesota

    Mit Romney used to be a moderate. His sudden shift to the right is neither genuine nor believable and the conservative base realizes this. Romney also fails to be relatable to Republicans. His faith, his personal wealth, and his lack of concern for the very poor in America all fail to appeal to the average conservative.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  84. Rick in Maine

    It might not be Romney, it might be the GOP having so many self interest within their organization that they can not agree on what match to strike.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  85. Mike

    Romney doesn't resonate with Michigan Republicans because he represents the monied elite like Michigan Republican state legislators who just imposed huge new income taxes on RETIREES while cutting taxes for their business buddies. Incumbents will have a hard time this November. We need leaders with working class ethics and acumen.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  86. Tim Banks

    Mitt Romney isn't catching fire with Republicans because our process is broken – Primaries "cow-tow" to extremes on both sides of the aisle – you don't have a chance if you're a conciliatory, pragmatic moderate. Republicans will make a mistake if they nominate Newt or Santorum – they are both good men, but our country's problems need teamwork, not idealism – My solution – vote them all out, Congress included.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  87. Doug - Evington Virginia

    That's easy Jack. Because he's not one. His current pretense of being one doesn't square with his political history. Second, he's just not as sharp as we'd like our candidate to be. I fear that if he is finally able to buy the Republican candidacy (and that looks increasingly likely), Novembers election will just be another "pick the lesser of two evils".

    February 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  88. Jim In Pittsburgh

    The problem has less to do with Romney than it does with the Republican Party. What we are seeing here is the culmination of a forty-year push to "purify" the GOP ideologically. This party has moved so far to the right that a gay soldier gets booed at a debate, the president gets yelled at during a televised joint session of congress and racist comments are shrugged off. The GOP will likely lose the presidential race this year, and maybe control of the US House.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  89. John C from Long Island

    Romney suffer from a simple "believability" gap- He makes a statement and people simply do not Believe what he says.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  90. Dave Goodrich

    Romney's problems with some Conservatives are that he comes from Massachusetts, has patrician roots, and is not a Conservative ideologue. He's operationally Conservative, and pragmatically Conservative, but he's not a good 'ol boy.

    It doesn't mean he can't close the deal, and not all future nominees have done so by now. He won CPAC's national poll of self-identified Conservatives, albeit narrowly. If he wins Arizona and Michigan, more will be on their way.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  91. Ron Lambert

    Jack,

    This feels like a trick question. How are the rational supposed to figure out the answer to your question. Who knows what rattles around the mind of religious conservatives, they might love him if thier bibles told them so. lol.

    Ron.
    Flordia,

    February 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  92. Kris

    Mitt Romney's problem is the same he will encounter in November if he sneaks through the nomination. He come's off as an inauthentic, opportunistic politician, who has no vision for America other then fulfilling a legacy of his own. That's his problem with all voters, not just Republicans. The problem is the people have to guess what he stands for by deciphering through all his Flips and Flops, rather than being inspired by a vision and sense of leadership for what's to come once 2013 is upon us. My vote is precious to me, and I'm not just going vote for somebody because his name isn't Obama.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  93. Mike in Scottsdale Arizona

    The Conservatives that keep causing the polls to swing widely to anyone but Mitt see Romney as tofu turkey when they're salivating for juicy raw sirloin.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  94. pad

    Jack the free ride has gone on so long no one cares now.Free wars ,food, housing,unempolyment insurance,money to wall street,banks ,farmers,insurance co's and I wonder how much has Jack Cafferty has recieved.
    Paul
    Ames, ia

    February 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  95. Jeffrey Magee

    The reason Mitt can't catch fire with conservatives is because he flip flops to much. One second he's saying he supports something the next he's saying he doesn't. Frankly Jack when Mitt started saying he didn't care about the middle class and the poor he pretty much drove the last nail into his own box.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  96. Michelle

    Romney is like the bad medicine you have to take in order to get well. No one wants to take it. They want to try everything else because they know that, even though the medicine is the only thing to fix you, it isn't palatable and so they put off taking it. That is why Romney isn't catching conservatives on fire. Because no one wants to do what is necessary to get us out of this mess.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  97. Ken in NC

    Simply put, Romney cannot catch fire because he is not combustible.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  98. jacksonklein

    Romney has not once stood his ground during the campaign on anything.romneycare,his personal finances,abortion,moderate,conservative,etc.he seems to be lacking in the department of conviction

    February 13, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  99. vernon mooningham

    the republicans don't care about job creating they care make more money through more tax breaks than by creating jobs and mitt is not talking about tax breaks for the rich

    February 13, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  100. Larry Coleman

    Romney can't catch fire with conservatives because he is not a conservative. He is at best a moderate. More likely he is a liberal.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  101. Doug Copeland

    How can you get close to a guy who seems to represent the problem with wall street executives that raided good companies for personal profit. How can you trust he won't do the same thing to our country as commander and chief?

    February 13, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  102. Nancy, Cunningham, TN

    Mitt Romney is out of touch with conservatives because he is out of touch with 99% of all Americans. He belongs to the 1% elite rich sector. He has enough money to burn a wet mule and has no idea about what it is like to live from one paycheck to the next. We need to elect someone who has been there done that.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  103. Fielding Mellish

    He's got no charisma, but bottom line: too many Christians will not vote for a Mormon.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  104. John

    To answer your question I just don't know. As an independent I would love to see Mitt Romney give the presidency a shot. To me, a moderate republican, successful business man and former governor of Mass is just what this country needs. If he wins the nomination, he will definitely get my vote. If not, I'll give Obama another shot. The last thing this country needs is a right wing conservative Rick Santorum . He's a nice guy but we don't need another George Bush.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  105. C Longman ( Bconlong) Turks & Caicos

    Come on Jack, Romney is already on fire. The problem is his high burning flame is not enough to ignite the conservatives. Jack Obama is waiting to out his or any GOP candidate.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  106. Nurse Lisa In Shelton CT

    Other reporters said it best – Romney has none of the American revolutionary spirit that could help him lead us to a better tomorrow – he has always had all he needs, his kids have 100 million dollar trust funds, his money is in offshore accounts to avoid taxes – legal, sure, but reprehensible; he has not felt our pain and can’t imagine it. Plus, Mormonism is a difficult sell

    February 13, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  107. Evelyn Mills

    Mitt Romney is as phony .His so called concern far the average joe is laughable .When he is shacking peoples ,I believe he can,t wait to go wash his hands ,so won't get what you may have.Yes Javk ,I am Mormon and he is a complete flake.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  108. Astronidas

    Because Ron Paul is a better candidate.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  109. John

    Romney can't catch fire with conservatives because he has a track record that all can see. It is NOT conservative enough for most of them. Romney is smart enough to Know that, in the next election a moderate is more likely to win. Most independent voters, the ones that swing an election to the eventual winner, have had enough of far right or far left. Mitt knows it. So does the President.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  110. marybeth, massachusetts

    Jack,

    They're just not that into him.

    They don't trust him because he doesn't come across as trustworthy. He's held all of the positions on all of the issues–he was firmly pro-choice, until he decided to run for president, then he decided that he must be pro-life to satisfy the republicans. He was pro-gun control until he realized that republicans are pro-NRA, so he changed his position. He was for universal health care coverage, and now he is disavowing the program he put into place in Massachusetts and denying that he had anything to do with, and slamming the President's plan (which is based on Romney's plan).

    He comes across as disingenious, disconnected, and a liar. Add to that his religion–there are still plenty of evangelicals who distrust Mormons and who will not vote for anyone they don't consider to be a Christian.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  111. Rev Carl

    Mitt can't be trusted. He flip flops depending on his audience and wants everyone to believe he represents their interests, which cannot happen. Neither Santorum, Paul, nor Gingrich is electable. I'm sitting this election out, as I have no real choice in the Republican ticket.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  112. Donaldo in ATL

    He has not sold himself. He needs to be able to close the sale. What surprises me is that none of his advisers have figured this out, or he is stonewalling, in either case, he suffers from Obamination, neither can close the sale.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  113. M. Garnier, Montreal, Canada

    Maybe because "conservatism" used to mean prudent with money and how to spend it.
    Now, the conservative movement is trying very hard to set the clock back a couple of centuries and to interpret the "Holy Words" of the framers of the Constitution as gospel. Never great to attribute intentions to people long dead.
    Romney is perhaps more open minded ("liberal") than is required by the extreme right wing. "How dare he try to talk about issues like jobs and the economy when we want to talk about gay marriage and prayers" .

    February 13, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  114. VIRGINIA JORDAN

    Mitt Romney may not know what a conservative is, nor what the conservatives as a group believe. How is the word "conservative defined. Conservatism needs to be defined every time it is mentioned. People need to know who and what
    conservatives are, and what they stand for.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  115. Staneve

    Jak you must ask the question to Governor Romney, not to us.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  116. Gonfis

    He's perceived as being a center right democrat. Significantly better than obama but that really is not saying much.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  117. Tim

    Romney is not electable, I don't care how he talks up his Republican "severley" conservative credentials, when it comes to issues that affect poor, middle class and a few wealthy families they care about what government can and will do to help them. Governtment is not the problem. I always thought government was a part of an institution the people who make up government are the problem. And since they think government is to BIG or to many regulations, as Michael Jackson said in his song "Man in the Mirror" it starts with them "change" or better yet get out of office then government will be reduced.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  118. Mark J

    Jack, its because he's a flip flopper. He says what the crowd in front of him wants to hear then changes
    his position with the next crowd. Watch the video Mitt vs Mitt on youtube and see what I mean.

    February 13, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  119. carlos

    So much spoken and written about a word, and all of it with no substance whatever. What a waste of time.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  120. Vikas Desai

    Why can't Romney catch fire with conservatives? Because he is not a conservative. His record is moderate to liberal, and he is doing a poor imitation of a conservative. That's why.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  121. Obdag in Appleton, WI

    My opinion is the Mitt is not catching on with conservatives for the same reason he doesn't get my interest. Here's a guy that simply has way to much money and yet just like the rest of the Republican party he says we should not increase the taxes on the rich. On this point I have to agree with Obama, let them pay their fair share just like the rest of us.They also fail to understand that maybe an increase in taxes is in order at this point in time.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  122. Jim Campbell, St. Paul, MN

    A perceived lack of empathy has been Romney's problem all along. He comes off as a well-heeled patrician to most folks I know. His unscripted moments have been a disaster. He wouldn't be a good boss ("I like to fire people"). He wouldn't be a friend in need ("I don't care about the very poor"). He has even tossed out George W. Bush's passionate conservatism with his proclamation that he was a "severely conservative Governor of Massachussetts." Personally, I think the Romney persona gives a misperception of him. I believe him to be a man who truly cares about people, but simply doesn't know how to demonstrate it.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  123. Karl

    Why can't Mitt Romney catch fire with conservatives?

    1. Say what you will about a state mandate versus a federal one, Mitt the Massachusetts Problem-Solver had the same solution for health care as Barack
    2. Joe Smith’s Golden Plates. Mormon does not equal Christian, even if the evangelicals publically say they think Mitt is a “wonderful family man with good values.”
    3. He changed his mind on abortion. Sorry, but that means he once thought this issue was less simple than conservatives like to believe it is, and that means he is unreliable.
    4. He is just too smart to say the things that light fires. Unlike Newt and Rick, he is better at putting them out than starting them.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  124. Katy Heys

    Mitt lives in a different world than the rest of us do. He cannot relate to average Americans because he has always been super wealthy and lived on Cloud 9. Furthermore, ask yourself this, Jack: would his dog vote for him?

    Kate in Tampa Florida

    February 13, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  125. ray pitt PA

    He can't catch on because the modern day republican party is only interested in those who label themselves "jesus" candidatese who are primarily concered with polarizing social issues.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  126. Jennifer

    I think he is catching on. It just takes time to build the momentum of the whole country

    February 13, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  127. perry jones

    because he is not a conservative hes a republican most people dont know there is a differance expecaly the republicans

    February 13, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  128. Nick San Diego

    Because he;s not a true Conservative. His record shows he's liberal on issues that the extreme right just won;t buy.
    But he's still the best chance for any Republican to match Obama.
    If the Party chooses any full blown Conservative., Obama will make toast of him.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  129. Jim

    The extreme right is just like the extreme left: extreme. They have their 15 minutes in the sun then they crawl back into their basements where they make grandiose plans about lunar colonies and banning abortion. Romney is right to do jsut enough to keep them relatively quiet. You will see a differnet Romney once he wins the nomination.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  130. Mike Norpel

    Romney is scarey, he will say anything to get elected so i find it impossible to trust such a person. He is trying to buy an election, and you can bet if he won the Mormon Church would have a big say in how our country rolls. Decades ago i heard how one of their profits said that the USA would get in deep trouble someday and it would be a Mormon who would become President and save the Country, then we would eventually be a Mormon Country. NOT!

    February 13, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  131. City Girl

    What difference does it make? That election is over and the GOP lost it.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  132. david

    Romney is the Al Gore of the Republican Party–he's wooden. Together with his near perfect flip-flop record, he's not likeable or believeable. David, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    February 13, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  133. jean2009

    I don't know that any of the GOP are catching on.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  134. Thom

    I think the reason is because to a lot of people it seems like he is trying to "catch on." And people see through that.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  135. Clicky

    Because he's a fake. Nominate Santorum.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  136. Curtis Walker

    It's quite simple Jack,

    Romney lost to the man who lost to Obama yet through some twisted logic convservatives think he can win.
    I fail to see the logic.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  137. Dann DFW

    Because he's not conservative, because many evangelicals do not consider Mormons to be Christian and he doesn't have the characteristics the Tea Party craves of sticking to your guns long after you've been proven wrong.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  138. Richard Fulton

    The GOP base wants red meat and no real policy intiatives. They want to hear about banning personal behaviours and dismantling government. When Romney says the "right" things that fit into these categories, the base does not believe him. For the base, not enough hostility, and not enough zingers for Romney. Sad.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  139. Earl

    The far right has trouble accepting Catholics as Christians. They will not accept a Mormon.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  140. Penny in Minnesota

    Why can't Romney catch on with Conservatives? It's easy, Jack. I've never seen a pendulum swing higher, swifter and broader than Romney's positions on everything from the economy to abortion. When he's attacked from the right, who he must attract, he swings "severely" to the right. When he's attacked from the center, he very quickly swings back to the left as if to say, "No, I really didn't mean it that way." Makes me rather dizzy. I don't blame Conservatives for not trusting him. I'm an independent and I don't trust him either.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  141. Todd Cawley

    I am going to say what most TV pundits refuse to say on air but do off air. The 800 pound elephant in the room is that there are a bunch of Evangelicals in the Republican party that won't vote for the Mormon. Is there any doubt that if Romney were an Evangilical this thing would just about be over? This group is looking for reasons not to vote for Romney. Let's call it what it is. Religious descrimination.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  142. wgf

    Because nobody really lnows what Romney is, including Romney.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  143. Wes Waugh

    Jack, catching something on fire requires combustible material, and while Romney seems to have practically everything else, he inherently lacks this. Romney has certainly tried to burn enough money, but even this ends up damp. The real problem lies in the fact that Romney isn't a fit for the position of the Republican nominee, no matter how hard he tries. And unfortunately, the harder he tries the more awkward he becomes. Since he can speak some French, he should get the gist of the term "je ne se qua"; something else he is missing. Wes, Boone NC

    February 13, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  144. Bill in Ottawa

    Why? Simple. He's not likeable. Newt is fascinating in a horror movie kind of way, Ron Paul makes way too much sense on some topics to dismiss completely, Santorum scares the ... santorum ... out of people. Of all the characters, Romney appeals the least, because he's not even able to be honest with himself about himself.

    If Romney owned up to his record as a moderate Republican, if he took the bullets from the right wing and made a stand as electable because he's moderate he may have a chance – but he can't even stand up for himself. How could he stand up for the people of the United States?

    February 13, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  145. Tom

    Romney has the leadership characteristics of a dust-bunny.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  146. Jim in upstate NY

    It's a mystery. Romney is all about profit, not jobs, so he should be the perfect candidate for the greedy old party.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  147. Red

    He's a moderate masquerading as a conservative to get votes. The GOP doesn't have much of a chance of beating Obama, but Romney's the best chance they have, and they had better get on board soon or they'll surely be looking at four more years without the presidency. Does anyone really think that Santorum has a chance in hell of beating Obama?

    February 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  148. Don in Iowa

    Well Jack it is rather obvious, Romney does not take a steady stance on ANYTHING. If the wind changes direction, so does Romney. If someone flipped a pancake as often as Romney flip flops you would do to the pancake what most people wish to do with Romney, toss him into the trash can where he belongs. How can you trust someone who doesn't really have a stand on anything but is willing to change and jump to whatever stand he feels is most liable to get him elected?

    February 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  149. Saul- Virginia

    Romney is a fraud. He thinks that we are stupids and can comfortable morph into anything to get elected. Whether you agree with pres. Obama or not, you can at least see that he is a genuine man with clear convictions.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  150. Pk duster

    When mitt said he does not care for the very poor how can any group vote for any body who hates people who have money problems

    February 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  151. John Doe

    I'm confused, there are so many pundits saying Romney cannot connect with Republicans, and that they can't stand him. So then why is he winning? He HAS the most electorates.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  152. Lee Sterne

    Romney's "connection" problem isn't just with Conservatives, it's with everyone: Romney has neither compassion for nor empathy with people, and people know it, instinctively. I believe people would react to him as they do even if he avoided the gaffes that he's made, but they not only re-enforce, they conclusively prove this to be the case.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  153. Mike in FL

    Jack, it's just another symptom of the fracturing of the GOP. It used to be they had a big tent, now the extreme right has taken things too far – they've grown too ideological and exclusive, and it's causing most moderate Republicans like myself headaches because the GOP can't win elections without BOTH the conservative right and the independent right. One of these days the party is going to have to shake-off the political liability that the far right has become and start anew from the middle.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  154. gramma nance

    The Mittster is just so SEVERLY boring. Nothing he says seems 'real' to me. He certainly does NOT connect with the amerage American. And if the Three Stooges are his favorite brand of comedy...Lord help us! Talk about a STIFF!

    February 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  155. Rags

    He can't catch on because he's clueless about a lot of things, particularly about what the citizens want. And he keeps waffling and changing his stance. I think the name 'chameleon' fits him well.

    February 13, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  156. I can see Russia from my house

    The economy must be doing really good because the biggest issue with far right is not the economy.

    Which BTW is very good news for Obama on multiple grounds

    February 13, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  157. TheTraveler from Idaho

    Here's a fairly simply answer Jack, he's not truly a conservative. He's has no core conservative convictions, no conservative heart, no conservative . True conservatives can't believe or rely on him and birds of a feather flock together so they say ...

    February 13, 2012 at 5:56 pm |