Romney's 'different kind' of charismaAugust 29, 2012 10:52 AM
On Mitt Romney's long road to the Republican nomination for U.S. president, he struggled with constant questions about charisma.
Did he have any? Could he go head to head with the charismatic Barack Obama? How much does charisma matter in an election fight about who can best fix an ailing economy?
On the convention floor, delegates often got defensive about the charisma question. Brenda Barwick did not. A delegate from Oklahoma, she was keen to share her thoughts on political charisma.
In the 1980s, she was so moved by a charismatic leader that she changed her life. The leader was Ronald Reagan and she said: "I really did feel like I was part of a revolution."
She loved his ideas and the way he communicated them. She threw herself into his campaign. She went to work in the White House when he won.
In 2008, she watched the Democrats choose Obama, a leader ripe with charisma, and she sensed a parallel with the man who moved a Republican like her decades earlier.
"They don't come along very often, those kinds of charismatic leaders. They can be very powerful. But they don't always work out."
A Romney supporter, she very diplomatically answered the question about his charisma - or lack thereof - this way: "He has a very different kind of charisma. It is more academic and professional. He is a man of rock-solid principles."
And besides, she adds, this election is about the economy and the country needs more than charisma.