It was Mitt Romney like you've never seen him. Loose, stress free and clearly with elective politics behind him.
Romney, the last GOP nominee for President of the United States came to Virginia to help out his old friend an early supporter. Former Lt. Governor Bill Bolling- who clearly seems to be keeping his political future open- hosted his annual "Burgers with Bill" event, which quickly became an endorsement rally for Senate candidate Ed Gillespie.
Romney did more than just make a quick speech and exit stage right. He worked the crowd for quite a while and then held a free wheeling press gaggle afterward. A sharp departure from the rigid management of a national campaign for office.
In his speech, Romney hammered the Obama administration on both foreign policy and domestic issues and made a passionate case to elect Gillespie and replace Mark Warner (D). As always with Warner, Romney did they typical GOP qualification of describing Warner as a "nice guy", but someone who sides with Harry Reid and President Obama too much.
Afterward, Romney emphatically rejected the notion of another campaign for President and gave his support to Dave Brat, the man who upset House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
You can see the full press gaggle below:
*2:22 Romney closes the door on presidential run
*3:14 Romney talks about Cantor loss/ endorses Brat
*4:10 Gillespie talks about Cantor loss impacts his race
*5:30 Romney talks about expanding GOP Map in fight for Senate
All three men agree that in order for the GOP to attain it's lofty goals for November not just here in Virginia, but across the country- it must find a way to get all their many factions headed in the right direction.
How they plan to do it, was my story for NBC12:
GLEN ALLEN, VA (WWBT)- Depending on who you talk to the Republican Party is in shambles or on the brink of a huge wave.
There is no greater indication of that disconnect than here in Richmond.
On the heels of Eric Cantor's stunning loss party leaders are trying to bring together their various factions to prepare for a push to November. And in order to come together they took a step back into their past. But they started that process without one key figure.
No- it wasn't 2012.
"Please give a warm Richmond welcome to Governor Mitt Romney," said former Lt. Governor Bill Bolling on a hot night in Glen Allen.
Mitt Romney is still a big draw and while he has no plans to run for president he had a message Tuesday night for a fractured Republican party.
"Republicans will come together," he said. "because it matters right now the country matters."
Romney comes to a Virginia still reeling from the loss of the GOP's most powerful politician. Bolling's "Burgers with Bill" event is a who's who of GOP establishment. A wing of the party Cantor was a member of and a section not necessarily supportive of new nominee Dave Brat.
"We've got a good candidate running for congress here in the 7th district," Romney said of Brat. "And we're going to get behind him."
But that candidate did not attend Tuesday's event after returning to the campaign trail that morning. He now runs on a ticket headlined by Senate candidate and former Bush advisor Ed Gillespie. While Brat ran against many of the things the GOP establishment stands for, Gillespie argues they agree on much more than they do with Democrats.
"(Voters) see that this as their opportunity to put the breaks on some awful policies," said Gillespie.
...read and see the full story on NBC12.com