Plenty of Mitt Romney's friends and supporters have been busy telling reporters as many positive things about the man as they possibly can. If Romney were president, ISIS wouldn't exist! No one can fundraise like Mitt Romney! Ronald Reagan didn't win the first two times he ran for president!
However, not all of the praise is unconditional. Mitt Romney has been getting a lot of "but ..." compliments too.
What is a "but ..." compliment? A "but ..." compliment is when you say something absolutely gushing about someone, and then immediately follow it with a bit of shade that leaves the preceding clause a bit sullied. These compliments were first popularized by fictional rich British ladies like the Dowager Countess of Grantham and Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
A "but ..." compliment would be you saying to me, "Wow Jaime, this is a great post, but have you really written six posts about the 2016 election so far this week? Don't you know the primaries are a year away?" You surely had nothing but good intentions, but your contempt wasn't exactly subtle. See, I can insult you right back.
Anyway, here are some of "compliments" people have paid Mitt Romney this week.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
"Look, I like Governor Romney, I like him personally, I think he is a good person, I think he was a great businessman."
BUT ... he is so over.
"But you know that's yesterday's news."
Rand Paul (again)
“I think he could have been a good leader of the country."
BUT ... it's my turn!
"But I think many people are going to say, ‘He’s had his chance.’ ”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
“If he ran, he'd also be a very formidable candidate. He’s run twice before. Obviously he has another national network of donors that he can tap into, has experience running in these races.
BUT ... don't forget me!
"The good news about the Republican Party is that we have so many people who could be very credible candidates and formidable candidates. The Democrats apparently only have one.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
“I think that Mitt Romney is a person who's dedicated to serving the country. I think he is a fine and decent American. I think he has a reservoir of support, and I certainly respect any decision that he might make."
BUT ... I like Lindsey Graham more.
“My illegitimate son Lindsey Graham is exploring that option. I am strongly encouraging Senator Lindsey Graham particularly with the world the way it is today.”
John McCain (again)
"I respect his judgment, he’s a strong leader.”
BUT ... isn't he tired of losing?
“I don’t know, man, it’s a free country. I thought there was no education in the second kick of a mule." (The order of this statement was reversed.)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
“Probably no finer man ever run for the office. He’s one of the most decent people I’ve ever met."
BUT ... he lost once, he lost twice...
"I don’t know if the third time is the charm.”
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
"I think he'd be a great candidate and he's got a lot of support around the country."
BUT ... I like all the flavors!
"I think it'll be a spirited primary and I think we'll end up with a good candidate.”
"The Conservative Action Fund appreciates Mitt Romney's service to America,"
BUT ... we don't want to go to the prom with him.
"But we firmly believe it is time for someone else to step forward and lead our country back from the disastrous policies of Barack Obama."
"He's an honorable, capable and decent person."
BUT ... decent people are a dime a dozen.
"But I know lots of honorable, capable and decent people. I don't want them to run for president either."
Former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating
“People say he is a very fine man"
BUT ... HE HAD HIS CHANCE.
"but he had his chance."
Mel Sembler, former finance co-chair for Romney 2012
"I have great affection for Mitt Romney and his wife. They ran two very strong campaigns and I supported both of them. We wish him good luck,"
BUT ... I like Jeb.
"but I'm supporting my friend of many years, Jeb Bush."
Kristy Campbell, spokesperson for Jeb Bush
“Gov. Bush has tremendous respect for Gov. Romney."
BUT ... Jeb also likes Jeb.
“In the coming months, Gov. Bush is going to actively explore a potential run and his timetable and his decision will not be impacted by Gov. Romney’s decision to move forward, and we would assume that the reverse is true as well.”
Former Florida House speaker Allan Bense
“I love Mitt Romney, and in two races I just bled for him."
BUT .. my heart can't take it again.
"But I'm not going to a third time."
The Wall Street Journal
"Mr. Romney is a man of admirable personal character,"
BUT .. he's also a flip-flopper.
"but his political profile is, well, protean."
"Republicans call Mr. Romney a decent man, and in public they prefer to speak delicately about him."
BUT ... not all conversations happen on the record.
"But beyond the ritual accolades there is an unmistakable weariness, and in private, their criticism of him can be fierce."
This post has been updated.