Mitt Romney Can't Stop Flirting With 2016 Presidential Election

LANSING, MI - MAY 8: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop at Lansing Community College May 8, 2012 in Lansing, Michigan. Last night former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum gave his endorsement to Gov. Romney in an e-mail sent to supporters. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Source: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Not wanting to be outdone by the elusive ways of Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney has been teasing his 2016 presidential run left and right these days. This time, he hinted at his possible third presidential run while speaking at a Republican National Committee dinner on a naval aircraft carrier in San Diego on Friday. If that whole event doesn't say, "top GOP presidential candidate" then I don't know what does.

In his speech to Republican bigwigs, Romney took addressed the 2016 election head-on...kind of. "Me, I’m giving some serious consideration to the future," the former Massachusetts governor said.

Romney continued:

There's some speculation about whether I'm about to embark [on a campaign]. Let me state unequivocally that I have no intention of running for U.S. senator of Massachusetts.

It was a big hit with the diners on the USS Midway, apparently. Romney then went on to address foreign policy — something that's on the minds of many Americans — by way of criticizing Obama and Clinton. He accused the president and his former secretary of state for carrying a "small stick," in an allusion to President Theodore Roosevelt's famous idiom:

[The] results of the Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama foreign policy have been devastating." The policies "crafted by him and Hillary Clinton. [Their polices] are based on the premise that if we're friendly enough to other people and smile broadly enough...peace will break out.

Romney, who seemed to be laying out a presidential campaign platform of sorts, then brought up the issue of income inequality — a surprise for the affluent businessman who became known for his infamous "47 percent" quip released during the 2012 presidential election. In the video, obtained by Mother Jones, Romney attacked the purported 47 percent of Americans who don't pay any income taxes:

All right, there are 47 percent who are with [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Now, Romney seems to be backtracking on his "I don't care about them" remarks, telling the audience in San Diego on Friday that he — as president — will focus on alleviating poverty in America:

Under President Obama, the rich have gotten richer, income inequality has gotten worse and there are more people in poverty in American than ever before. ... We can fight for forward-looking solutions that create record growth, unleash our entrepreneurial spirit and re-establish our moral authority at home and abroad.

OK, he didn't elaborate on how he would help rectify the nation's vastly growing economic inequality, but it's a start. Maybe.

But let's get down to the biggest question about Romney's possible third presidential campaign: How does his wife, Ann, feel about all this? Well, Romney said, she thinks he's ready for it — again.

"Ann believes you get better with experience," Romney said. "And heaven knows I have experience running for president."

Maybe it's about time we start brushing off our Clinton and Romney pins after all.

Images: Getty Images (3)

Must Reads