The big digs

How badly does Mitt Romney want to be president? Not badly enough.
 
In case you haven't heard, Romney decided now would be a swell time to apply for a permit to bulldoze his 3,009-square-foot ocean-front house in California in order to build a 11,062-square-foot mansion in its place. I did not read this in The Onion, but in the Boston Globe and Washington Post. Indeed, a spokesman confirmed that Romney's large family requires more space, stating that they decided to enlarge their two-bedroom house in La Jolla so that "with five married sons and 16 grandchildren it is inadequate for their needs."
 
I love a close family, and who wouldn't want to have a place on the ocean for large family gatherings? But this is a man worth more than $200 million who wants to be president in 2012 in a terrible economy with nearly 20 percent of the country underemployed and unable to make ends meet. Is this a joke? Did Romney, who sought to streamline his lavish real estate holdings by selling off property in Deer Valley, Utah, and Belmont, Mass., in preparation for his second presidential run actually think that people wouldn't notice his decision to create a palatial spread overlooking the ocean in one the country's wealthiest communities? He bought this house (to add to his vacation residence in Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H., and his townhouse in Boston) three years ago, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. That would mean right after losing his first presidential race, when he knew he would possibly run again in 2012. Last year he told reporters that he bought the house because he wants to be near the ocean. According to the Post he said, "I wanted to be where I could hear the waves. As a boy, we spent summers on Lake Huron and I could hear the crashing of the waves at night. It was one of my favorite things in the world. Being near the water and the waves was something I very badly wanted to experience again."
 
Romney's spokesman also confirmed that construction on the new house wouldn't begin until the permits were issued and the campaign is finished. What a relief.
 

WILL PERRY BE THE NEW FRONT-RUNNER FOR THE GOP NOMINATION? Ask A.B. returns Tuesday, Aug. 23. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and comments to askab@thehill.com. Thank you.