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Why Mitt Romney's family, supporters still want him to run

Mitt Romney divulged Wednesday to "Face the Nation" moderator John Dickerson that he “got an email” this week from his son saying: “You gotta get in, Dad. You gotta get in.”

Romney, of course, is not one to act on last-ditch petitions, even coming from his family. Indeed, Romney's dynamic older brother, Scott, once told me that after his brother left his longtime firm Bain, his colleagues pined for Romney's return. When Scott wondered out loud why any firm that hires the best brains from MIT and Harvard would still need his brother, they responded that no one else sliced through business pitches and found logic lapses quite like Mitt. In short, he was not just the firm’s CEO, he was their litmus test for winning investments.

Naturally, then, Romney would see infinite reasons why not to run. He maintains: "I can't imagine the circumstances that would lead me to be in the race."

The same attributes that make him a successful businessman — his ability to weigh risk and reward, his penchant for airtight planning, his craving for competency and desire to drive results — are all qualities that are preventing him from diving headlong into an admittedly quixotic third-party bid.

And, yet, many sophisticated voices still feel he should do it. As New York Times columnist Ross Douthat put it Wednesday — channeling his inner Nike marketer — “Just do it already.”

Polls from this week show that a majority of Republicans — that’s right, a majority — would prefer someone other than Donald Trump. Meanwhile just under half of Democrats would like someone other than Hillary Clinton.

Those nudging Romney to run feel that America deserves another choice, and they see the former Massachusetts governor as the only candidate with the name recognition, experience, acumen and fundraising network to run a successful last-minute bid.

The current presumptive Republican nominee's campaign began the month of June with a paltry $1.3 million in "cash on hand.” At this point in the 2012 race, Romney had nearly 20 times that figure. With fundraising prodigy Spencer Zwick and Romney's own brother, Scott, he might get close to those figures once again.

Meanwhile, at the drop of a make-America-great-again hat, Romney's loyal advisers Stuart Stevens and former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt would likely help pull together a formidable campaign team.

Mitt turned around the Olympics; many are now hoping for an Olympic-type performance turning around 2016.

Running this kind of a campaign, of course, is an unconscionably tall order to ask of a candidate and his family. In addition to the media bedlam, the personal attacks on family and faith and the endless scrutiny of personality in lieu of policy, the Romneys would also undoubtedly face a scornful staccato from the fierce Trumpeters and Clintonites.

But Romney's son already knows this firsthand. And, yet, weighing it all in the balance, he still says, “You gotta get in, Dad. You gotta get in.”

Hal Boyd is the opinion editor of the Deseret News. Email:, Twitter: Halrboyd