New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny reported Saturday from Mitt Romney’s speech to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in D.C., “Romney’s Record as Governor Resumes Central Role in Nomination Fight,” and noted that Mitt Romney used the “conservative” label “at least 25 times during a 25-minute speech.” Funny Zeleny should mention that, considering a Friday Times report from CPAC contains 23 instances of the word “conservative” in a 28-paragraph story, making it as popular a word choice as the conjunction “and.”
Zeleny's Saturday dispatch was only slightly less label-happy, using the word 12 times, not counting quoted material or the name of the conference itself. (Is the name Conservative Political Action Conference not a sufficient giveaway?)
Mitt Romney sought on Friday to expunge the lingering skepticism and unease that conservative activists have raised about his presidential candidacy, pledging in a speech that he would not betray their trust or abandon their principles if he challenged President Obama as the Republican nominee.
As the Republican presidential race intensifies, Mr. Romney’s record as Massachusetts governor has resumed a central role. He introduced himself at a speech here as a “severely conservative governor,” but one of his leading rivals, Rick Santorum, warned voters not to settle for “a hollow victory” by nominating an impure conservative.
The spotlight was squarely on Mr. Romney, who is working to regain the upper hand in the Republican nominating contest. He went to great lengths to showcase his conservative core, using a variation of the word “conservative” at least 25 times during a 25-minute speech.
But he did not dramatically change his tone or signal that he was poised to make urgent adjustments to his message. While commentators had built up his appearance at the conservative forum as a make-or-break moment for his candidacy, he seemed to confront it with the same methodical approach he has taken to his campaign.
At the conference here four years ago, in the same ballroom of the Marriott Wardman Park hotel, Mr. Romney announced that he was ending his presidential bid. The crowd roared in disapproval, a sign of the well-known dislike among conservatives for Senator John McCain.