Mitt Romney has weathered two difficult presidential campaigns that saw his faith, family and career smeared by the media and his primary opponents. Yet, somehow, he might be ready to do it all again. With no clear GOP favorite ready to battle likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Romney, who ran for the White House in 2008 and 2012, could be weighing a 2016 bid, according to political pundits and reports.
Romney has made it plain that he hasn't exactly missed the campaign trail. "My time has come -- come and gone. I had that opportunity. I ran, I didn't win," he told Fox News earlier this month. "Now it's time for someone else to pick up the baton."
But reports claim Romney hasn't entirely put the idea behind him and has allegedly been running a potential third campaign past his advisers, relatives and friends. "That doesn't mean he will decide to do it, but it does mean that Mitt 2016 is a real possibility," according to the Washington Examiner.
"We'll see what happens," Romney told the New York Times this month. "I have nothing to add to the story ... We've got a lot of people looking at the race."
Ann Romney also hasn't ruled out a third presidential run for her husband. "Well, we will see, won't we," she told Fox New's Neil Cavuto earlier this month.
Romney's political star has been helped by President Barack Obama's sinking popularity. A majority of Americans, 53 percent, now claim they would vote for Romney over Obama in a rematch of the 2012 contest, according to a recent CNN poll. Meanwhile, potential Republican presidential contenders such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have done little to win over voters in recent months and stand out in the growing crowd.
“Everybody realizes we’re devoid of leadership in D.C.,” Harold Hamm, a billionaire energy investor who was one of Romney’s biggest fundraisers in 2012, told the Washington Post this summer. “Everybody would encourage him to consider it again.”
But it's difficult to tell if Romney could do better with voters in 2016.
"There’s nothing in the Obama blunders that improves how Romney looks as a candidate," John Dickerson wrote for Slate on Monday. "He has all of the old baggage that caused him trouble in the 2012 race, plus that competition burdened him with a few soggy valises he’d now have to carry into any new run."
Meanwhile, it's equally unclear if Romney can survive another brutal loss. “It really kills me,” he told the New York Times of his 2012 finish. “It really kills me.” The reporter wrote that Romney then "became inaudible, and it seemed as if he might tear up."