Chris Chocola, president of the free market Club for Growth, said Thursday morning that he didn’t know if Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was a pro-growth conservative.
“I don’t know,” he said when asked the question during a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “We’ll see if he’ll be a pro-growth president.”
The Club for Growth did not endorse Romney during the primaries and is not weighing in on the presidential race this year. It is instead focusing its energies on Senate races.
Chocola said Romney has “the potential to exceed expectations” but add: “It’s a mixed bag with Romney. That ‘s his problem. People don’t really know … He’s got a mixed record when it comes to our issues.”
The nonprofit president said the GOP candidate was wrong for example to bash China over trade -”He knows better” – and but then added that “spending-wise in Massachusetts, he was really good. I think spending went up 2.1 or 2.2 percent annually when he was governor. That’s pretty good.”
Chocola followed that up with a mild, back-handed endorsement: “He’s our only choice for the Republicans now, so we’re not going to criticize him. We’re going to hope he exceeds our expectations.”
He added that Romney was problematic as a candidate because of his business background:
The problem with business guys who run for office … is they don’t really want to talk about themselves. They don’t want to try to convince you that they are great. They want to say look at all of the stuff I did … (To them) results matter. In politics, 90 percent of what you do is look like you are doing something, 10 percent is actually doing something. In business, 90 percent of what you do is actually doing something and the other 10 percent is may be trying to spin it and convince people you are great. So business guys have a very hard time understanding why the results do not speak for themselves … They also don’t understand how nasty politics is and how you get attacked for things you never thought you would get attacked for and that really frustrates them. So, Romney, I think, has evolved but he is (still) the business guy who says, “Listen, just look at what I did and look at what the other guy did. This is easy.” Politics just doesn’t work that way.