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The president has taken his party’s message directly to voters. He visited a Pennsylvania toy manufacturer on Friday, calling for Republicans to embrace the immediate extension of tax cuts for all but the top 2 percent of wealthiest Americans.
Though Boehner has taken the lead in negotiations with the White House, Republicans generally did not have a standard-bearer to counter that message. Instead, they’re relying on familiar Capitol Hill leaders to guide party doctrine during his debate.
"We don’t have one person out there carrying that torch. You’ll have (South Carolina Sen.) Lindsey Graham, Speaker Boehner, (Wisconsin Rep.) Paul Ryan, John McCain — same old, same old," said Republican strategist Hogan Gidley, a senior official on former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s unsuccessful presidential bid. "Void of a singular leader, we’re going to have to rely on some of the younger more dynamic speakers to go out and make our argument."
No one, it seems, is talking about Romney assuming any sort of leadership role.
"I don’t think that we need to be looking toward Mitt Romney to articulate our principles," said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder and national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots.
It appears Romney may cooperate, choosing business over politics in defeat.
The former businessman is subletting office space at the Boston-area venture capital firm, Solamere Capital, which was founded by his oldest son. Former aides expect Romney to stay out of the spotlight for the foreseeable future — spending colder months at his California home and warmer months at his New Hampshire lake house.
"It might be better for him, better for the party, to start fresh," Gidley said.
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