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Mitt Romney's book makes 'No Apology'

Don't

expect to read much about Utah or the Mormon Church in Mitt Romney's

newest book, "No Apology: The Case for American Greatness."

Sure,

he mentions leading the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and even

talks briefly about being a bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of

Latter-day Saints.

But the focus of

the more than 300-page book, due to be published March 2, is what

Romney believes should be done to strengthen the United States and its

role in the world.

Borrowing a theme

from his unsuccessful bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008,

Romney calls for a strong economy, a strong military and a free and

strong people.

He goes on to detail

an agenda that is summarized in 64 "action steps" in the book's

epilogue, a list that includes stopping trillion-dollar deficits,

ending illegal immigration, building new nuclear power plants and

adding at least 100,000 troops.

"A

strong America is our only assurance that prosperity will follow

hardship and that our lives and liberty will always be secure," Romney

writes in the introduction, according to an advance, uncorrected proof

of the book.

Although Romney has yet

to declare he's making another run for the White House in 2012, the

book is seen as a clear signal he's serious about the race. Romney's

last book, "Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games,"

about what he learned saving the Salt Lake Games from scandal, came out

in advance of his last presidential run.

"People

who are planning on running for office write a book filled with general

policy ideas," said University of Utah political science professor

Matthew Burbank. "It's a way to get your name out there."

The

key, Burbank said, is to not be too controversial. Romney's book

"clearly plays to the right of center. Still, it's designed to appeal

to a fairly broad range of people. ... The very title of this book is an

indication of the kind of argument you're going to get here."

Making

the case that America is great is "not a tough position for any

politician to take," Burbank said. "It's a fairly tried-and-true

standard political tactic, and it's being used in such a way that it's

largely unobjectionable."

Romney

does attempt to downplay the politics of his proposals. "Despite my

affiliation with the Republican Party, I don't think of myself as

highly partisan," Romney states. "Neither party can claim 100 percent

of the good ideas."

He adds,

however, "in light of the challenges faced by this country, I am

puzzled by those who align themselves with a political agenda that may

be well-intentioned, but weakens the country and hazards our freedom."

Democratic

President Barack Obama is taken to task by Romney — including for

apologizing for America with "criticisms, put-downs and jabs directed

at the nation he was elected to represent and defend" — but the book

remains largely positive.

Longtime

Romney supporter Kirk Jowers, head of the U.'s Hinckley Institute of

Politics, said the book "is an attempt, in most instances, to be a

nonpartisan, pragmatic view of how to solve our problems."

Voters

are growing tired of the partisanship in Washington that Obama is

trying now to address, Jowers said. He said if Romney runs, it will be

on "substance and solutions and not on personality and vague slogans."

The Hinckley Institute is hosting Romney's only Utah stop on his book tour,

at the Salt Palace on March 13. Romney is arguably the most popular

politician in Utah, even though he hasn't lived here since the Olympics.

"His

experience in Utah, especially with the Olympics, guides many of his

opinions," Jowers said, acknowledging that "No Apology" is about

"America's place in the world and, accordingly, is not Utah-centric."

But there are some references that Utahns will appreciate.

Romney

retells a familiar story from the Olympics about the appearance in the

opening ceremonies of the tattered flag recovered from the ruins of the

World Trade Center after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack. As the

Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang the national anthem, a gust of wind filled

the flag and lifted it in the hands of the athletes holding it on

Rice-Eccles Stadium field.

"It was

as if all those who had died for America's liberty had just blown into

the flag," Romney quotes U.S. speedskater Derek Parra as remembering.

Romney

also pointed out that only U.S. gold-medal winners held their hands

over their hearts as the "Star Spangled Banner" was played, something

he says he knew to watch for only because he had learned from a Utah

elementary school teacher that tradition is distinctly American.

Writing

about boosting the nation's productivity, Romney referred to his time

as a "lay pastor" in the Mormon Church, serving a group of Boston-area

congregations.

"Among these were

inner-city and Spanish-, Chinese- and Portuguese-speaking

congregations," he said. "I cannot count the number of times I consoled

or counseled a person who had lost a job. ... Ever since these

experiences, unemployment is not merely a statistic to me."


E-mail: lisa@desnews.com