I assume native speakers have no problem at all with the beginning lines of the following paragraph of the article titled “In Primary Victory Speech, Mitt Romney Echoes Barack Obama’s 2008 Message” in today’s (April 25) Time magazine. But to me, a non-native English speaker, the line in bold below is confusing.
Barack Obama, circa 2008, may have just clinched the Republican nomination for President in 2012. Mitt Romney doesn’t look like Barack Obama. And they don’t share a governing philosophy. But when Romney claimed his title as presumptive nominee on Tuesday night, the former Massachusetts governor made clear his belief that Obama’s 2008 message of hope for American rebirth could work again in 2012.
Why does Barack Obama, who is a Democratic-party President, need to clinch the Republican nomination for President in 2008, or 2012 whichever?
Can you paraphrase the first line so that even a beginning English learner can understand?