One of Romney's biggest challenges in the run up to next year's primaries is convincing social conservatives to take a chance on him. While there's been a lot of discussion about Romney's policy shifts on conservative sites this past week (see here and here for example), Romney seems to be making some significant political headway nonetheless. The Boston Globe has a story today about Romney's "point man" for conservative outreach, Peter G. Flaherty. The Globe writes that Flaherty "isn't just defusing concerns about Romney's past support for abortion rights and gay rights. He's also busy building relationships with prominent religious leaders, and helping Romney understand hot-button issues," something that sends "a strong signal to conservatives" in the words of conservative activist Gary L. Bauer. The Salt Lake Tribune and US News & World Report have articles this weekend detailing some of the dividends Romney's efforts among conservatives have paid. An essential part of this outreach, in my mind, has been Romney's astute reaction to political attacks (ala Youtube) as well as gaffes of his own making. After receiving very mixed reviews at the National Review Summit a week and a half ago, Romney did "much better" at this past Friday's Conservative Member Retreat.