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Mitt Romney’s people insist he’s not ‘rebranding.’ Sorry, but he most definitely is.

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney joked about his time as a presidential candidate during a speech at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss. (Video: Mississippi State University)

Mitt Romney's nascent 2016 presidential campaign has a bit of a problem: It's broadcasting what its 2016 campaign and candidate will look like, but political reporters and analysts are dubious.

To recap: Romney's team has said that he will cast himself as an ally of the poor and middle class rather than the wealthy, as a foreign policy candidate, and as someone who is "authentic."

All three of these things, in case you deliberately wiped the 2012 campaign from your memory, were among Romney's big hindrances in that race. There was the "47 percent" comment about poor people not paying taxes, his stumbles while overseas, and his inescapable image as a buttoned-down plutocrat who didn't connect to average people.

Accordingly, reporters have written about all of this as a "rebranding" effort. Only a top 2012 Romney aide, deputy campaign manager Katie Packer Gage, says that's not fair.

Another top Romney 2012 aide, senior strategist Stuart Stevens, also seemed to have some fun with the endless analysis.

The definition of "rebrand," according to Merriam Webster's dictionary, is "to change the corporate image of a company." Now, Mitt Romney is not a corporation -- though Romney himself might actually disagree on that count -- but what he's doing is unquestionably rebranding.

"Rebranding" suggests more than a change in advertising strategy, but rather a wholesale re-casting of the image of the corporation/person involved. According to just about everything written about Romney 2016's message, that is precisely what his team is trying to do. They are trying to turn the guy who scoffed at poor people not paying taxes into an ally of the poor. They are trying to turn the guy who offended London on the eve of the Olympic Games into the foreign-policy guy. They are trying to turn Mitt Romney into someone who isn't quite so, well, Mitt Romney.

That is the very definition of rebranding. Romney's people might think this is the guy they have known all along, but the broader perception of him is largely antithetical to what his 2016 campaign is attempting to convey.

To call that anything other than rebranding is being too clever by half.