Boston Globe on Mitt Romney: The Long-Distance Runner

Just before Thanksgiving last year, a group of former aides to Mitt Romney convened at his salmon-colored Belmont home, many of them gathering for the first time since Romney had disbanded his presidential campaign some nine months before. Romney had invited them for a post-mortem of the election weeks earlier, the type of dispassionate assessment that the Harvard Business School alumnus so enjoyed. But over cookies, they found few of the metrics for success that Romney prized -- Republicans had been decisively thumped at all levels -- and his attention shifted from 2008 to the future.

“He was not bringing people together to second-guess,” says Alex Gage, a former campaign strategist who continues to informally advise Romney. “It was not a lot of retrospectives or recriminations or mistakes. I think in his mind he’s thought it through.”

Romney was encouraged by the contents of a fat three-ring binder he brandished for his guests. He leafed through the pages to show dozens of thank you notes and photos -- from Republican candidates for whom Romney had campaigned and raised money around the country -- and passed the binder around his living room so that each of his advisers could linger over it. “He just talked about all the friends he made and people he met along the way,” recalls Kevin Madden, who had been Romney’s campaign spokesman. “The idea was: It’s not for nothing. We were actually helping people. Take a look at how thankful they were.”

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