Speaking just for myself, I admire Romney, Giuliani and Thompson. I could vote for any of them. Huckabee makes my skin crawl (sorry, Huck fans).
But Romney has just warmed my heart with two "Right On!" statements. One is about loyalty; the other is about moral clarity.
On loyalty, Governor Romney said exactly the right thing about President Bush, at some risk to himself:
" I believe that the president has acted in good faith and out of a desire to protect this country to do everything in his power to keep America safe."
That is not a risk-free thing to say after all the war and turmoil of the past seven years. But Romney is not running away from the President. He may disagree politely on specifics, but he is not going to demagogue our bravest president since Harry Truman. Good for him.
The second heart-warming moment for me is Romney's moral clarity about TIME Magazine's elevation of Vlad "The Poisoner" Putin to be its Man of the Year.
This is a spontaneous moment --- just as Romney heard the news during an interview with Glenn Beck:
"Romney: Did they put Vladimir Putin on the cover?
Glenn Beck: Yeah, Time magazine.
Romney: That really, that's disgusting. I'm absolutely -- I mean, are you -- I mean, I haven't seen Time. Are you serious?
Beck: No, I'm serious. It is Vladimir Putin, Time magazine man of the year. A guy who, you know, with all of the KGB stuff in the past, Time magazine says has transformed the country and congratulations. Time magazine man of the year, Vladimir Putin.
Romney: Well, you know, he imprisoned his political opponents. There have been a number of highly suspicious murders. He has squelched public dissent and free press. And to suggest that someone like that is the man of the year is really disgusting. I'm just appalled.
Clearly General Petraeus is the person or one of a few people who would certainly merit that designation and I know Time magazine makes a distinction. They say, well, people who had an impact, whether it's good or bad, is the man of the year. I think that's a --
Beck: No, no, hang on.
Romney: -- a false --
Beck: Before you go too far down this road -- wait a minute. Before you go down this road, this is the quote why he's the man of the year, "For bringing stability and renewed... status to his country." That's why.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Isn't that something. So a good dictator -- I guess Raul Castro will get it next. A good dictator that imprisons or murders political and media opponents and therefore brings stability, I mean, there's nothing like the stability that martial law provides or dictatorship provides. I find it a truly appalling designation.
GLENN: And the stability that he's bringing to the Middle East with the transfer of this last few days of nuclear technology to Iran.
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Yeah. I mean, he's once again supplying nuclear material to the Bushehr power plant and it's another example of Russia trying to destabilize the world, destabilize the Middle East. It does tell you something about Time magazine. I'm really -- I must admit I'm really disappointed. That's a real shock."
It's a remarkable moment in the new media. Romney may not win, but I'd be happy with someone with this kind of loyalty and moral clarity.