It always is, in Marc Ambinder’s world:
John Ensign and Mark Sanford are revealing TMI. Sarah Palin is struggling with her state legislature. John Huntsman, Jr. is headed to China. Mike Huckabee is ubiquitous. Haley Barbour is meeting with strategists in smoky back rooms. Tim Pawlenty has to get through the rest of his term.[….]
1. Romney is picking and choosing his battles. He shares an Obama-esque disdain for the superficial daily scrum that cable channels whip up. It’s a credit to his communications team that he can appear on television once every two or three weeks and seem to be part of the dialog. When Romney has something to say, he’ll find a venue to say it. On auto restructuring, on the Republican stimulus plan, on a free market approach to health care, on the Employee Free Choice Act, and on missile defense, Romney matches his opinions to key constituencies, and he always draws respectful news coverage. What’s Romney saying about Mark Sanford? Nothing. (Mike Huckabee called into Fox. He’s pursuing a different communications strategy.)
2. He’s not consumed by anger or sarcasm. Romney can get angry, and he can be sarcastic. But his public appearances today are calm, measured; his interviews are given in dignified settings. Romney’s political team believes that the public has no appetite for presidential adversaries who are driven by personal dislike. To Romney, this dignifies the office of the presidency.