There is reportedly a high probability that at any random moment during the day, Mitt Romney's internal monologue is going something like this: "don't make a gaffe, don't make a gaffe, don't make a gaffe." In their insta-history of the 2012 race released Tuesday, Politico's Mike Allen and Evan Thomas report that the many YouTube'd gaffes Romney has made so far have made him a little bit paranoid. They write: 

Romney has become gun-shy about getting overheard saying the wrong thing, or saying something unguarded into an open mike. A political adviser recalled chatting openly with Romney, confident that no reporters lurked nearby, when Romney pointed to a sound boom some distance away and said, “Careful.”

The candidate is "like a golfer with too many thoughts in his head," they say, and an adviser anonymously confessed he's "thinking about every single word." In the spirit of both Romney and Obama reaching out to the women of America, we'd prefer a girlier analogy: Like the time our coworker's girlfriend asked him what dress size he thought she was, and, panicked and thinking about men's pants sizes, he blurted out the smallest he could imagine: "I dunno, a 20?" That is what Mitt Romney is like.

Romney's fear of gaffe-ing led to his "severely conservative" gaffe, Politico reports. In fairness, Romney's money gaffes have become such a signature that the gaffe police are a little overzealous in their gaffe hunting. Two recent comments were deemed gaffes when they were merely unfunny jokes.

Some aides want to let him be free to talk more openly, others want him to stay on script. One "GOP operative consulted by Team Romney," who also worked for John McCain is in the first camp, Politico reports. McCain was more warm and authentic than Romney, but Romney has one thing on the senator: he doesn't talk your ear off. "Then Romney gets up and uses a teleprompter on the speech," the operative said, referring to an awkward victory speech. "I think that’s a terrible mistake for him. We had to do that with John [McCain] because he’d talk for an hour. Mitt could do without a teleprompter.”