Mitt Romney spent much of the late summer and fall of 2011 in the "Mittness Protection Program" — out of the spotlight and away from the cameras — and by all indications, he's headed back to that undisclosed political location.
Take tonight's debate for starters: Romney is going out of his way not to get drawn into fights with the other candidates.
Romney is also growing scarcer on the campaign trail – he hasn't held a press availability since last Sunday, even after he narrowly won the Iowa Caucuses.
The closest he came to taking questions from reporters was five minutes of bantering on his campaign charter jet on Wednesday. Yes, he did a few celebratory television interviews after his Tuesday night victory, but that's a far cry from taking questions from a rowdy campaign press corps, as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum regularly do.
Why? Romney thinks that unscripted questions are more likely to hurt him than help, and he might be right. He's the presumptive nominee, and he has a ton of money — why not speak through media that you can control, like advertisements and one-on-one interviews?
Romney crept outside of his bubble in late December to deal with a surging Newt Gingrich. Now that he burst that bubble and won the caucuses, there just aren't too many obstacles between today and the nomination. Why risk it?