Romney campaign 'bracketing' aims to 'step on president's message'
April 18th, 2012
12:22 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney campaign 'bracketing' aims to 'step on president's message'

Charlotte, North Carolina (CNN) – Hearing the term "bracketing" tossed about these days? Sounds like something you do when you're picking a college basketball winner in March. But this has more to do with Mitt Romney's strategy for November.

Take what's happening this week. President Obama has a campaign trip to Ohio. So what does the Romney campaign do? They set up a bunch of interviews for Romney with Ohio radio stations in the hours before the president's speech. Then Romney goes to Ohio the next day to give the response to Obama.

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Team Romney sees this as "bracketing" the president, challenging Obama both before and after his speech with the GOP contender's own messaging.

"We're stepping on the president's message," a Romney campaign official put it bluntly.

As Philip Rucker with the Washington Post reports, Team Romney hopes its "bracketing" strategy will "force the president on the defensive."

The Romney campaign cooked up another way to steal some of Obama's Ohio thunder, announcing on Tuesday a big, splashy speech to vie for some of the media attention the president is due to receive in the crucial battleground state.

Romney's speech in the swing state of North Carolina is being billed as a "prebuttal" to the president's address to the Democratic convention in Charlotte. The site of Romney's event? On a roof with a view of Charlotte's football stadium where Obama gives his speech later this summer.

"We're going to be waging a very vigorous campaign to highlight the clear and sharp contrast between Gov. Romney's understanding of the economy, his pro-jobs policy and this president's three failed years in office," said spokesman Ryan Williams on a campaign conference call. "We're going to pose the question to voters 'are you better off now than when Obama took office,' and for the vast majority of Americans that's not the case."

In the hours before Romney's event in Charlotte, his campaign released a web video highlighting then-Sen. Obama's speech at the 2008 convention in Denver where he said his measure of success would be the number of jobs he would create as president. The video notes North Carolina's high unemployment rate of nearly 10%.

It's just one more move to "step" on the president's message – sort of a bracket within the bracket.

"President Obama is a big target when it comes to his record," Romney told the Laura Ingraham radio show. Look for Team Romney to try to capture that target with "bracketing" all year long.

The Obama campaign hardly sounds impressed by the Romney "bracketing" strategy.

"As Mitt Romney heads to Charlotte to 'prebut' the President's convention speech–over 4 months in advance–the American people are right to collectively yawn over what promises to be another address heavy on hype and light on anything of substance," Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in an email to reporters.

– CNN Political Producer Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.

Also see:

Nugent threatens death if Obama wins in November

Dems, Republicans make their picks in election to replace Giffords

CNN Poll of Polls: All knotted up between Obama and Romney

Romney chimes in on Secret Service, GSA


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • North Carolina • President Obama
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    I tell you all of the time, Republicans think the solution to every problem is messaging. It's really all they've got. When all you know how to use is a hammer, then every problem looks like it needs a hammer. Here's my counter message.

    "Actions speak louder than words."

    April 18, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. The Real Truth and Nothing But the The Real Truth

    Obama's been doing the same thing for months. Good to see Romney fighting back and taking it to the failure in chief.

    April 18, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The neat thing about Mittens setting up talks with a lot of radio stations, is that he can take different views on his message to suit each listening audience.

    April 18, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    As long as serial tax evader, Mittens avoids the truth, the right wingnuts will support him.

    April 18, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Hopefully, Mittens will use his campaign spokesperson, Ted Nugent, to deliver the republican taking points.

    April 18, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    The problem isn't the strategery, which I find to be mostly fair and legit...taking advantage of the POTUS' disadvantage of having to schedule based on everything else he has to be doing as well. The problem is the lies, misinformation, mischaracterizations and non-positions the Changeling will be selling while doing it.

    April 18, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. beevee

    Everyone is getting to know what a political chemeleon this guy Romney is. Now they know he is also very cunning and cannot be trusted. It is time for president Obama supporters to play the counter offensive and chase him back to mexico (that is where he claims to have come from). it is all politics.

    April 18, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "Hopefully, Mittens will use his campaign spokesperson, Ted Nugent, to deliver the republican taking points."

    The Nuge is busy preparing for his meeting with the Secret Service scheduled for tomorrow because of what he said. May he be force-fed from 1,000 litter boxes.

    April 18, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. The Real Truth and Nothing But the The Real Truth

    ...taking advantage of the POTUS' disadvantage of having to schedule based on everything else he has to be doing as well.
    ===============================================================================================
    Yeah, Obama is very busy trying to slip all this in between the hundreds of campaign fund raisers and vacations at the tax payers expense!

    The problem is the lies, misinformation, mischaracterizations and non-positions the Changeling will be selling while doing it.
    ==========================================================================================
    I agree... Mr. Hopey Changey hasn't spoken a non-lie since he was called out on it during the State of the Union. Joe Wilson was 100% dead on accurate and a very good judge of Obama's character.

    April 18, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. MTATL67

    This strategy does not impress me in the least. Romney does not make a real case as to why he is worthy to be President. Just saying the President failed here and there is not leadership. Romney lies, lies for a moment I thought he was Sarah Palin in man drag.

    April 18, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    Hmmm. They're calling "follow the leader" bracketing now? In other words, wherever Obama goes, there goes Romney. Whatever Obama says, then speaks Romney. Well this is what people who have no ideas of their own do isn't it? They respond to those that DO have ideas, plans, courses of actions to offer the populace, and who have infact boldly, and unequivocally enacted said ideas.
    Mittens you're out of your league. You're a wealthy wannabe, but a wanting and lacking wannabe nonetheless. I guess follow the leader is the best you've got. You should send President Obama a thank you note because without HIS ideas you'd be a walking "NO COMMENT".
    Obama 2012. Seriously America.

    P.S.
    You may want to ask McLame how trying to put Obama on the defensive work for him.

    April 18, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. DW

    Sure, go ahead vote Romney. Then cry your way to the poor house if you make less than a mil a year.

    April 18, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Yeah, Obama is very busy trying to slip all this in between the hundreds of campaign fund raisers and vacations at the tax payers expense!"

    Polly want a cracker?

    April 18, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. Joi Gibson

    Willard is playing follow the leader. That might be interesting if Willard had something of substance to say. But it will no doubt be like the primaries when all he could do is the bash the president. Willard is very negative – that is a turn off to most people. And after seeing his interview with Diane Sawyer, I am more convinced than ever that Willard simply "does not get it."

    OBAMA/BIDEN/FIRST LADY MICHELLE 2012!!!!

    April 18, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  15. Jonathan

    So the guy who hasn't had a job since 2006 is trying to spend more time on the campaign trail than the guy who is busy running the country? What a surprise.

    April 18, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    Step all you want, Mittens, it doesn't change the FACT that you would have let GM go under; your party gave up on finding Osama bin Laden because you wanted an excuse to continue to spend billions on war over bringing our troops home; you're a flip-flopper of the highest order; and most people think you belong to a cult.

    Because of President Obama's policies, our country didn't go into a Great Depression; the economy is slowly turning around, in spite of the GOP's continued efforts to make our people suffer; GM is alive and the top car company in the world; and Osama bin Laden is swimming with the fishes.

    The GOP and Mittens and all their supporters and lackeys are the most pathetic bunch of people in our nation's history!

    Obama/Biden 2012

    April 18, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  17. Maxx

    Romney, trhe dishonest CEO with overseas accounts, that's who should run America? I don't thinks so.

    April 18, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. Larry L

    @The Real Truth and Nothing But the The Real Truth

    "Mr. Hopey Changey hasn't spoken a non-lie since he was called out on it during the State of the Union. Joe Wilson was 100% dead on accurate and a very good judge of Obama's character."
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    I find it discouraging that conservatives ridiculed the concept of hope and change from the first day the President took office. Republicans have worked hard to make people lose hope and to prevent change by obstructing every opportunity for compromise. Joe Wilson is just a version of Ted Nugent with a suit and tie – a low-class, racist thug with no sense of statesmanship or honor. I can understand why you admire him.

    April 18, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    Hey, Mittens, how about releasing your tax records? Or are you not man enough to admit you've been stashing your money in the Caymans and Switzerland, in a never-ending effort to avoid paying taxes?

    April 18, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "They're calling "follow the leader" bracketing now? In other words, wherever Obama goes, there goes Romney. Whatever Obama says, then speaks Romney"

    Good point. Not to mention that it's even worse than just "whatever Obama says, then speaks the Changeling." It's more like "whatever Obama says, the Changeling starts saying too." The game of "I know you are but what am I?" that the Changeling and the GOP/Teatrolls have been trying to play in an attempt to confuse voters and create a false equivalency in areas where the Changeling is weakest...it's really rather pitiful, cynical, dishonest and childish.

    April 18, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    Here's some "bracketing" (i.e., let's surround Mittens with the truth):

    January 4, 2012, Mitt Romney in Manchester, NH, spoke about how valuable it is for mothers to be able to stay home with their children, like his wife did – unless, of course, you're a woman on welfare. He said, that while governor of
    Massachusetts, he proposed raising the amount of work required of parents on welfare so that they could “have the dignity of work.” Here's the quote:

    “I wanted to increase the work requirement. I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work."

    So if you can afford to, being a stay-at-home mom is hard work and valuable, but if you're a mom receiving welfare, you're not working and should therefore leave your children in the care of others so you can have the "dignity of work."

    Even on motherhood, Mittens is a flip-flopper. This man will do anything to get elected ... another GW Bush rightwing puppet, if there ever was one. Only a fool would vote Republican in November.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    April 18, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    "Yeah, Obama is very busy trying to slip all this in between the hundreds of campaign fund raisers and vacations at the tax payers expense!"
    -------------------------------------------------
    What kind of cheap "whine" is this? MD 20/20 or Three Roses?

    April 18, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. tee27

    Remember OH, Mitt said he has john kasich back on all his issues, Obama 2012

    April 18, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. The Real Truth and Nothing But the The Real Truth

    Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one) - Hmmm. They're calling "follow the leader" bracketing now?
    =================================================================================
    As Obama prefers to "lead from behind" it is actually Romney that is out in front on issues. If there is ONE THING Obama has never been accused of, it is leading the way. For the first two years he let Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi lead him around by the nose. The last 1.5 years he's spent campaigning.

    April 18, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. S.S

    "Take what's happening this week. President Obama has a campaign trip to Ohio. So what does the Romney campaign do? They set up a bunch of interviews for Romney with Ohio radio stations in the hours before the president's speech. Then Romney goes to Ohio the next day to give the response to Obama." SO BASICALLY MITTS HAVE OPTED THE REGURGITATING STRATEGY!! REPEATING OBAMA AND FLAVORING IT WITH THE ELDERS – WISDOM. PLAIN PATHETIC!!

    April 18, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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