LOS ANGELES -- Watching Mitt Romney in person Monday in California was like switching the channel between PBS and MTV and back again.
There he was, at a morning fundraiser in Irvine, sounding like a character out of "Downton Abbey."
"Our government provides the resources and the playing field, if you will, that allows people pursuing their own capacities to lift one another," Romney said at a morning fundraiser.
If you will.
At the next event, Romney was, like, sounding all "Jersey Shore" while hitting President Barack Obama for not meeting with his jobs council, a silly story, but one that lends itself easily to political sniping.
"It's like, 'Why won't he meet with his jobs council?"' Romney said while meeting with small business owners in Costa Mesa.
The 65-year old presumptive Republican nominee for president has struggled to throw off the image that Obama's campaign has tried to saddle him with -- that of a throwback to the '50s, the kind of politician Ward Cleaver might have encountered.
On Monday, Romney showed some versatility, transitioning back and forth between the two phrases -- the more true-to-type "if you will" and the casual Valley girl use of "like" -- more than once. Perhaps his time on vacation with his five sons and his 16 grandchildren rubbed off.
At the morning fundraising breakfast, Romney said the shootings in Colorado were an opportunity for the American people to look inward and renew their commitment to loving and helping one another.
The French writer Alexis de Tocqueville said America was distinct because of "our willingness to serve one another, the barn raisings, if you will," Romney said.
Then Romney hit Obama for his comments about the role government plays in supporting small businessmen and businesswomen.
"He said, you know, 'People who begin businesses like this think it's because they're smart.' He said, 'But there are a lot of people who are smart,'" Romney said.
"It's like, yes," Romney said, his voice trailing off wryly. "Then he said, 'They think it's due to hard work. A lot of people are hardworking.' Where's he going with this?"
No Mitt, where are you going with this hip lingo?
Romney continued, moving back to more familiar territory.
"It's an ideology that somehow says it's the collective and government that we can just celebrate," Romney said of Obama's comments. "And the truth is we do celebrate our government and our collective goodness as a nation, but we also celebrate and extol the accomplishments of the individual."
"We extol individual initiative, the person who takes a risk to start a business," he said.
Extol. That's the Mitt we know.
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