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A Romantic Guide to 2012 Republican Suitors: Margaret Carlson

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- The Republican Party has been speed dating, racing through presidential prospects like a Hollywood starlet working her way through leading men. The fickleness suggests a party that doesn’t know whether its Tea Party heart or its establishment head should prevail in 2012.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was next in line, which is usually the right place to be in a Republican nomination contest. He checks some important boxes -- successful businessman, former governor -- and his conversion to conservative positions occurred far enough in the past that the phrase “flip-flop” no longer shows up in every story about him. He’s against health-care reform, though still dogged by the fact that he once was for it.