- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It’s been a good week so far – and promises to get even better — for Mitt Romney, according to some Republican National Committee members gathered at their annual winter meeting in San Diego.

Their private exchanges note that the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee suddenly, in last few days, told friends and former campaign aides to warm up their engines – he’s gearing up for a third go at the party’s presidential nomination in 2016. He lost his first attempt for the Republican nomination in 2008 to Sen. John McCain and then won the party’s nod in 2012 but lost to President Obama in November.

Now, at the last minute, the former Massachusetts governor and father of Obamacare asked Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus for the coveted speaking slot at a Friday reception aboard the U.S.S. Midway, an aircraft carrier commissioned a week after World War II ended and now a floating museum anchored in the city’s famed harbor.

When asked earlier in the week who would get to speak aboard that perfect venue – a grand seagoing symbol of America’s military might — an RNC official told The Washington Times no speaker was scheduled. There would be just a band for the reception for members, guest and donors.

Just as suddenly, the RNC announced Mr. Romney requested and was granted time to deliver a few remarks to those same members, guests and major GOP donors aboard the carrier, while the band took a break.

And on Monday, Mr. Priebus announced the appointment of former Romney presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to head the RNC’s 2016 Presidential Trust.

“There is no one better suited for this important role than my friend and my Congressman, Paul Ryan,” Mr. Priebus, the former Wisconsin GOP chairman, said in a statement.

Just to round things out, RNC members noted privately, Massachusetts RNC member Ron Kaufman, a senior adviser in Mr. Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, is on the RNC’s 2016 presidential debate committee.

The committee went into executive session Wednesday to discuss privately how the next presidential primary’s televised debates would be conducted — who might qualify to participate and under what rules.

The only other potential 2016 nomination contenders scheduled to address the winter meeting in San Diego this week were Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and physician and columnist Ben Carson.

• Ralph Z. Hallow can be reached at rhallow@gmail.com.

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