At the Chicago event, Romney said there were “other good people in the party” thinking about running, and he told CBS’s Bob Schieffer earlier this year that he’d be “supporting one of them very vigorously.” He’s had his turn, he’s said, and should step aside for the new crop of GOP leaders. But if the field collapses, the Republican establishment could find him waiting in the wings.
“Could he be drafted? Could everyone from the party come and say, ‘You have to run because you’re the only person’? Is that possible? Sure,” Kaufman said.
But the odds of this playing out are still extremely slim. Kaufman, who doubts Romney would wind up in such a position, points out that the last person to be grudgingly enlisted into a presidential campaign was Dwight Eisenhower. Unlike Romney, Eisenhower had never run for president before, and boasted a better track record for victory: He had recently helped win World War II as supreme commander of the Allied forces in Europe.
In other words, Romney swooping in to save a fractured party at the 2016 GOP nominating convention is not likely. But his supporters at least think that as an establishment favorite, Romney could play the hero if party upstarts and likely candidates Ted Cruz and Rand Paul crash and burn.