In his first major speech since losing the 2012 presidential election, it was almost as if nothing had changed for Mitt Romney. He touched on themes of patriotism, entrepreneurship and optimism. He even entered and exited the stage to the exact same theme music (Kid Rock's "Born Free") played at nearly every one of his events during the campaign.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, the vanquished former GOP nominee largely stuck to the familiar and there were some places he simply would not go:
Mea Culpa: The former GOP nominee didn't apologize or explain why he thought he lost. The most introspection we heard from Romney was when he said: "It is up to us to make sure that we learn from my mistakes, and from our mistakes, so that we can win the victories those people and this nation depend upon."
Related: Mitt Romney Addresses CPAC
Obama: Romney steered clear of mentioning the current president. There were no well-wishes and no outright criticism of President Obama (by name) either. In a recent Fox News, interview, however he was much more blunt, asserting that if he were president now the massive spending cuts known as the sequester would not have happened.
What's Next: The former businessman explained that he wanted to be a "co-worker" to Republicans by promoting the conservative message, but he didn't explain specifically what he will do next nor did be explore what his future role in the party will look like. He went one step further the Fox interview when he pledged that he would not "disappear."
The Issues: Romney didn't touch on the tough issues of the day, ignoring topics like sequestration, gun control, same sex marriage, and immigration.
No Joke: Romney loved to crack a G-rated joke or two on the campaign trail, but this speech on Friday was serious and lacked any of his usual wisecracks.
Naming, Names: In his speech, Romney offered shout-outs to his running mate, Paul Ryan, and a number of his top surrogates like Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell, Susana Martinez, Scott Walker and others. Of course, Romney could not have mentioned everybody, but there were a few notable omissions: Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush and many more. Just another example of the hazards of naming names.