Posted at 04:12 PM ET, 05/18/2012

Mitt Romney plans restful break after busy week

Mitt Romney wrapped up a very busy week (Iowa, Florida, New Hampshire) with a very short speech (barely nine minutes) Friday afternoon in New Hampshire. On Saturday, the former Massachusetts governor will spend the day opening his Wolfeboro, N.H., home on Lake Winnepesaukee.

“It’ll be just me alone. Put the boat in the water, get out the picnic  tables,” Romney said.

Here are four reasons the GOP nominee can celebrate. (At least this week).

1. Polls — Romney’s likeability took a beating in the primary, with his odd remarks about the height of trees, the very poor, his wife’s “couple of Cadillacs” and that $10,000 bet. But things are looking up for Romney as he makes a full pivot to the general. Gallup has him clocking in at 50 percent favorability, up from a low of 39 percent in February. With Obama at 52 percent, Romney, who is still in the “Hi, I’m Mitt” phase of his campaign, has plenty of time to close the gap, and his general election ad released Friday is one of the first steps in going national and meeting voters where they live.

2. Money — Romney had a huge funding haul, bringing in $40 million in April, nearly matching Obama’s $43.6 million for the same month. Along with the Republican National Committee, which is now helping Romney raise money, his campaign has $60.1 million in the bank. Next week will probably be another big week of fundraising as Romney heads to New York. In Florida, he was frank with supporters at fundraisers, telling them that he is going to need a lot of help.

2.3. Sistah Souljah — Pundits have wondered when Romney would stand up to the more extreme elements of his party, pointing to missed opportunities over these past weeks. But with his repudiation of a proposal to launch a racially tinged Reverend Wright-centered anti-Obama ad campaign. Romney pulled off a semi-Sistah Souljah moment. Off-message when the story first hit, Romney responded quickly, via top surrogates, then on conservative radio, then in person with an afternoon news conference. It was a no-brainer with little downside, not unlike Bill Clinton’s repudiation of a little-known rapper.

4. Warm, Fuzzy, Funny Mitt — After reporters tussled with a Romney press aide over access to the ropeline, a new Romney emerged. And this one was bearing cookies. Warm, gooey, chocolate chip cookies. Not known for kibbutzing with reporters, Romney strolled to the back of his campaign plane to chat with reporters four times this week and passed around a plate of cookies. Not only that, he shared a photo of his grandson, Parker, who used a concoction of Elmer’s Glue and egg whites to get a mohawk hair do. “I’ll show you what it’s all about for me,” he said. “It’s wild hair day at his school. Look at that!” Next week, he’ll turn to education, the very topic that allowed George W. Bush to run as a compassionate conservative.

By  |  04:12 PM ET, 05/18/2012

 
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