Romney supporter in Arizona urges course correction
February 21st, 2012
06:54 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney supporter in Arizona urges course correction

Phoenix (CNN) - Randy Pullen, a former chairman of the Arizona Republican Party and a prominent supporter of Mitt Romney in the state, said Tuesday his candidate must intensify his efforts to win over conservatives at the grassroots level or risk losing the GOP nomination fight.

Pullen told CNN that Arizona is dangerously close to slipping out of Romney's reach, though he still predicted a victory here for the former Massachusetts governor in next Tuesday's primary.

CNN LIVE: Tune in Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET for the last presidential debate before Super Tuesday, the CNN/Arizona Republican Party Debate hosted by John King. Follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate and on Facebook at CNN Politics. For real-time coverage of the Arizona and Michigan primaries, go to CNNPolitics.com or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

"He is certainly not ahead by 20 points like he was a few weeks ago after Florida," Pullen said. "On election day, I think Rick Santorum is going to win. But I think early balloting is going to Mitt. I think enough votes have already been cast."

After watching Santorum address a mid-day luncheon sponsored by the Maricopa County Republican Party, Pullen said he admired the Pennsylvanian's easy rapport with conservative activists and wished Romney had similar instincts.

"They really like the guy," Pullen said of Santorum. "You saw the speech today. It comes from the heart. Santorum connects with people. Unfortunately, my guy has a hard time doing that."

Romney needs to spend more time "connecting with the people on the grassroots level," he said.

"He has all the right endorsements," Pullen said of Romney. "He is getting money from all the right people. So he has done all that. But they somehow forgot that these people are the ones that vote. Their strategy has been to play one candidate off another, but it never really got them to a majority."

"My guy needs to come out and connect with the people and just lay it out there," he added. "Mitt gets too concerned about what he is saying and how he is saying it as opposed to connecting with people. I know he can do it, he just has to make the effort."

Pullen said that a Romney loss in Michigan, which votes on Tuesday along with Arizona, would be a "devastating" defeat.

"That would be very difficult to explain, how you lose your home state," Pullen said, though he claimed a loss in Michigan could be offset by a win in Arizona.

Also see:

Paul ad slams Santorum

Obama campaign takes a swing at Santorum

Gingrich describes Obama as a national security risk

Franklin Graham questions Obama, Romney on Christian Faith


Filed under: 2012 • Arizona • Mitt Romney
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Joe from Ohio

    I smell blood in the water....and its Mitt's

    February 22, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  2. John from Florida

    Mitt is pathetic. So are the rest of the GOP, except for Ron Paul. This independent is voting Barack because, though i cannot agree with everythng he does or says, he is smart and understands the middle class. Mitt is an elitist who is out of touch, santorum is crazy.

    February 22, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  3. Thomas

    Those that hate Obama love Santorum .

    Be careful for what you pray for !

    February 22, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  4. steve

    So Willard has to move from severe conservative to astringent conservative to win over right wing extremists to win the republican presidential nomination, but what does he do then? Eureka! He can change his positions again for the election.

    February 22, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  5. J.V.Hodgson

    Not sure he can.The old leopard would have to change his spots!? He is great at flip flopping but hopeless at the indirect personal relationship appeal. He thinks he is "negotiating" a Bain capital deal not selling himself as a product to the people. he forgets at least virtually half the people in the room fundamentally already decided he aint the winnner, and his PAC do not really help either in the national battle.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    February 22, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  6. Willie Floyd

    "He's receiving money from all the right people"-looks like money may not buy elections this time! When are Romneys' supporters going to accept the fact that he will never be able to "connect" with middle class America? He has no concept of what life is like outside the realm of a billionaire life style.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012-Eliz. Warren-very soon

    February 22, 2012 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  7. mk1

    The farther right these candidates go the better for the country. I refuse to believe that the American people are stupid enough to fall for the idiotic positions these candidates are taking. Our country if finally starting to claw it's way out of the recession and Republicans want to ruin it. Why do they hate America so much?

    February 22, 2012 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  8. JT

    We get it liberal media you don't like Romney and are salivating at the chance to run against Santorum. But, what the media won't tell is Santorum is not on the ballot in Virginia, D.C., Indiana, and three of Ohio's congressional districts. He also does not have any committed delegates in Tennessee. Doesn't sound like presidential material to me.

    February 22, 2012 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  9. flopflipper

    Don't lose touch with the facts. Arizona remains the second most powerful Mormon State in the Union. As such, Romney would have to kill a baby on live TV in order to lose Arizona. The other demographics don't matter.

    February 22, 2012 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  10. alko

    Being the two-faced liar that Romney is, changing his direction should be as easy as another flip-flop.

    February 22, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  11. quieteye

    Your Republican party long ago sold it's soul, and in effect much of the nation. And over the last decade it has been undeniably acting like as it has. And now you want the nation to follow behind the "leadership" presented by the GOP and RNC?

    Really?

    February 22, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  12. Dave

    Romney certainly needs to change his tack and just slinging mud at the opposition is not the way to go.

    February 22, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  13. Debby

    Its not Romney's fault these conservative repbulicans aren't voting for him because he is a mormon plain and simple. He is the most sane candidate the GOP has next to Ron Paul.

    February 22, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  14. FedUp

    Maybe Romney can win over the Arizona voters by telling them the cactii are just the right height there. I have never laughed so hard as when I heard that Romney tried to tell the Michiganders that the trees are just the right height in Michigan. Does he really think the voters are that stupid? That should get him a few million votes, I guess.

    February 22, 2012 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  15. sbssue1

    Romney for President. Santorum is too Santorum......he's right and the rest of the world is wrong! He thinks women should have no rights, no prenatal healthcare and of course no choice. He is wrong. Romney is for freedom and jobs and getting our county back on course. Think ladies before you cast your vote.

    February 22, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  16. PTBarnumboy

    Give the man a break for heavens sake!!!!! He's already changed course so many times he can't hardly walk straight.

    February 22, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  17. The Greedy Old Pigs declared class war on US!

    Great advice, telling a machine to act like a human. Perhaps the control freaks in the GOBP deathcult would do better trying to adjust its platform to recognize and accommodate the values and aspirations of Americans today. Instead we have a "party" trying to take the US back a century or two while ignoring the millionaire tax demanded by three quarters of Americans. And instead of showing actual personality, compassion and care for all Americans (not just the greedy) we'll get yet another staged moment from Rmoney and his incompetent handlers. You'll know because his AngerSim 2.0 or PseudoPassion 5.0 will kick in as he tries to appear emotional and "connecting" with voters who can't stand his sorry elitist snobbery.

    February 22, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  18. Brenda

    If Republicans give Santorum the nomination, there will be no Republican in the Whitehouse for at least 4 yrs. He is a decent man with decent values, but is backward on womens rights and Santorum can't win over most women with his past statements. I'm a pro-lifer, I'm a conservative, but I think Rick Santorum's views are dangerous to my personal freedom. There are plenty of men out there that still think they can keep a woman down and disguise it as wanting to "help" us or knowing what's better for us. Sorry, I don't think so. I am a Romney supporter and I will have a hard time showing up if anyone else gets the nomination.

    February 22, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  19. Don

    How can he change course. He isnt on one.

    February 22, 2012 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Interesting advice. Make a hard right turn ahead. Reminds me of a GPS that you use in your car.

    February 22, 2012 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  21. GROVER NORQUIST IS AN ENEMY OF THE STATE

    Wilard's toast. He's got surrogates jumping ship and Santorum is basically neck to neck with him. Willard can't get anymore "severely conservative" than he's already trying to portray. I mean this is the guy who said himself that he's a moderate.

    February 22, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  22. diridi

    I honestly do not think any of these current republican contenders are really viable for President job. Because, they do not talk any kind of sense, nor have any locus standi for presidential election. They speak for Rich. Not for Middle Class Americans. Do they know America consists of more Middle Class and Less rich? I am ashamed of these Republicans. so true, America is.....

    February 22, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  23. Ferret out the BS

    Maybe if he told the truth, he might make the connection he sorely wants.

    February 22, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  24. Two and the door for House Republicans

    LOL...I guess it is time to FLIP again!! LOL!!!

    February 22, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  25. Mindie in Indie

    No Romney STAY THE COURSE...!!!
    Obama 2012
    Hillary 2016
    GOP Never again

    February 22, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
1 2 3