The idea during the 2008 campaign was that exposure to the candidate himself — a likable, teetotaling family man — would help convince people that there was nothing to fear in his beliefs. But even as the national Republican establishment warms to Romney as never before, the former candidate and his closest aides now believe a group of voters will always be off-limits because of his religion.
“There are some people for whom it will not be settled,’’ Romney said in a recent interview. “That’s just the nature of who we are as a people: A lot of people have differing views.’’
That acknowledgment is just one part of a growing consensus within Romney’s circle that his 2008 campaign’s almost obsessive focus on winning over social conservatives was not only unsuited to his strengths as a candidate, but strategically misguided.