"For the record, let me say that the Romneys their neighbors and associates know are neither phony nor scary," Barlow writes in a forthcoming issue of Religion in the News, published by the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for Religion in Public Life at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.
"Like it or not, Romney is naturally smooth, as much in private as in public." The candidate has always "smiled faintly when listening and talking, even about serious or controversial matters," Barlow writes. "Romney smiled in conducting religious services or planning meetings. He smiled while hosting friends at his Cape Cod vacation home. He smiled when comforting a wounded congregant."
This was not a false persona, Barlow writes, but a "mixture of good will, confidence, optimism, enjoyment of intellectual challenge, and idiosyncrasy."