Just days after announcing his presidential bid, Mitt Romney says not to expect him to hit the campaign hustings too hard anytime soon.
“Right now, your greatest enemy is overexposure," he told CNN's Piers Morgan in his first major TV interview since his announcement. "People get tired of seeing the same person day in and day out."
"People are going to start focusing on the elections probably after Labor Day," he added. "And until Labor Day hits, I'm going to be pretty quiet."
Being quiet for Romney became easy tonight. In fact, he was supposed to be on the show for the full hour, but his time was more than cut in half to make room for coverage of a scandal involving Representative Anthony Weiner and his tawdry Tweets (almost as a counter-balance, Romney tonight tweeted a photo of him, his wife, Ann, and their son, Matt, eating takeout on a park bench in New York City).
Romney was, however, asked about several vices.
"I have tested alcohol," he said. "I tried it on one occasion, it was not a good experience. But drugs, never."
When asked if he had ever had an affair, he said, "Of course not."
"We have a very very close relationship, and [are] devoted to each other," said Ann Romney, who was sitting next to him during a portion of the interview.
In the interview, Romney also would not say whether or not he thought homosexuality was a sin.
"It's a valid question, and my answer is, 'Nice try,'" he said. "I'm going to tell you that, as a leader of the American people i will do everything in my power to treat all people with respect and dignity and to advance the rights people have to choose their own course in life."
Romney had a similar stance during his campaign four years ago, saying that his opposition to same-sex marriage did not mean he was not tolerant of gays.
"What you look for in a leader is someone who will welcome and treat with respect people who made different choices and have different beliefs in their lives and have differences," he said at an "Ask Mitt Anything" event in Florida. "I have nothing but respect and feelings of tolerance for people with differences from myself and feel that way with regards to those who are gay."
"I oppose discrimination against gay people," Romney added. "I am not anti-gay. I know there are some Republicans, or some people in the country who are looking for someone who is anti-gay and that's not me."
But he also declined to say whether he thought it was immoral, just as he did tonight.
"I don't think that a person who's running for a secular position as I am should talk about or engage in discussions of what they in their personal faith or their personal beliefs is immoral or not immoral," Romney told the Associated Press at the time.
In the CNN interview tonight, Romney also sought to answer to concerns that some -- particularly in states whose GOP politics are dominated by Christian conservatives -- have over his Mormon faith.
"I'm not a spokesman for my church, and one thing I'm not going to do in running for president is become a spokesman for my church or apply a religious test which is simply forbidden by the constitution," Romney said. "If you want to learn more about my church, talk to my church."
Romney also said he didn't mind Sarah Palin coming to New Hampshire and overshadowing his announcement last week, saying, “She didn’t really ruin my day,”
“Sarah Palin is generating enthusiasm and interest in a campaign this year, that's a good thing,” he said. “She has a lot of energy and passion, and bringing it to our race is positive for us.”
When asked about his new, more relaxed look that often means he isn't wearing a tie, he joked, "Well, I stopped wearing my suit to bed at night."
When Romney (no tie) was pressed by the host (who had a red tie on), he said, "By and large I ask the one person that counts, and that's my wife. 'What should i wear today?' ...I do as I'm commanded."
Romney's campaign also released a well-produced video today, highlighting his announcement speech last week in Stratham, N.H. The video, titled "In America: Anything is Possible," starts with a sun rising over the Statue of Liberty and switches to scenes of farmers, schoolchildren, and urban streets. As Romney speaks, ethereal music plays in the background.
Meanwhile, Democrats immediately criticized Romney for suggesting that he did not want to be overexposed.
"Romney is in fact, his own greatest enemy," Ray Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, said in a statement. "His campaign must see the writing on the wall and realize that the more Mitt Romney talks to voters, the faster his support erodes."
Morgan said more of his interview with Romney will air tomorrow night.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.