The Corner

The Frontrunner Mindset

Manchester, N.H. – Leaving Blake’s Restaurant, a local diner, Mitt Romney urged people to “get out and vote” as he moved toward the door.

“It’s a while, though, I think,” he said. “November.”

A beat later, he realized his mistake. “Actually, it’s not November. It’s January,” he said, then switched that to “February” after being corrected.

Slipping in and out of booths, Romney easily talked to various diners. Meeting some fellow Michigan natives, he spoke about the car industry. Citing the quote, ‘As General Motors goes, so goes the nation,’ Romney somberly said, “I hope that’s not the case. But if he’s right, we got some challenges ahead of us.”

Talking to two women who had just been to the gym, (“Are you doing pilates … yoga?” Romney asked, only to be told they were just doing the “regular” kind of workout), he said, “I presume last night, you were watching the Bruins game?”

“Not me,” one of the women chuckled. “I was watching you guys.”

“We were respectful of each other,” Romney said, musing about how the debate had gone, “And I think we focused on the person who we thinks needs to be replaced, which is President Obama. So all in all, I think it was a good night.”

At a different table, he touted his opposition to cutting military spending. “Let’s find the waste and inefficiency,” Romney said, “but let’s use that to rebuild our Navy, let’s use that to rebuild our Air Force … and we also need to care for our veterans in the way they deserve to be cared for, and I’d love to see more soldiers, more boots on the ground availability.”

“I know there’s need to pull in our spending,” he added, “but the military is not the place where I’d do it.”

He mixed policy talk with light chatter. Talking to one of the diner employees, Romney warned her that he was about to make a “terrible joke.” Noting that the diner served eggs benedict with hollandaise sauce, he suggested that they start serving the dish in “hubcaps because there’s no place like chrome for the holidays.”

Romney wasn’t always completely confident during the visit. When one of the Michigan folks asked to take picture with him, Romney told him, “If I win, you can save it, and I’ll sign it. If I lose, just press delete.”

Katrina Trinko — Katrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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