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Romney Shifts To Underdog Mode

Jonathan Martin has a piece up this weekend based on an interview he did Friday with Mitt Romney. What's striking, as Martin notes, is how much Romney has gone from upbeat "overdog" to sober, near-fatalistic underdog:

“If it were essential to me to win, if to put bread on the table I had to win this election, if to feel good about myself I had to win this election I might be more anxious about this,” he said.

“But instead I’m happy to describe to the people of Iowa who I am, and they can look at me in my totality and decide if I can help this country. I’m convinced that my experience qualifies me to help America in ways no one else can right now. If they agree, terrific. If they don’t, I’ll go back to my private life.”

Also striking is how much the GOP race in Iowa is starting to mirror the Democratic race in Iowa. It's pretty easy to imagine the following line coming out of Hillary's mouth: 

“If people are looking for somebody who’s a good talker, I’m not your man,” Romney said, knocking his chief rival but also alluding to his challenge. “If they’re looking for somebody who has demonstrated a record of solving difficult problems and making difficult situations into successful outcomes then I am your man.”

Of course, with Romney, there's usually some detail to remind you that he's not, in fact, an underdog. In this case, notice the setting for the interview:

“There are some things I can do and some things are out of my control,” Romney said, chatting in the pro shop of a country club golf course after a town hall meeting in this western Iowa town.

--Noam Scheiber