Romney campaign 'bracketing' aims to 'step on president's message'
April 18th, 2012
12:22 PM ET
3 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.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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. Independant Texan

    If I had a fortune to protect from taxes, he`d be my choice. He`ll futher the cause to eradicate the middle class and move us headlong into a two class society- the haves and the have nots.

    April 18, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. Terry

    People need to listen to what is said. Rmoney lies outright about 15% of the time. I will never give my trust or vote to a professional liar. Obama isn't perfect but I trust him to try and make things better for everyone.

    April 18, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. No plan + no solution + always complaining = GOP

    Can the man actually propose solutions or real ideas aside from playing copycat? The reason the GOP is not respected by moderate or the middle is that they do not have any real solutions. It's similar to running a car on fumes thinking they will find a gas station in the middle of the desert.

    No plan + no solution + always complaining = GOP

    April 18, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. Bill

    Bracket all you want folks, your candidate will lose in November.

    April 18, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. stengren

    If you bought a lemon, you'd blame the seller right? I don't see how Obama could be blamed for the recession taking its course. The worst had yet to come when he was elected, and Mitt is trying to pin the totality of the recession squarely on Obama's shoulders. Completely absurd. And anyone with a shred of common-sense whose been paying attention to the news lately knows that our economy is in a state of steady improvement. Romney has no choice but to continue pretending things are absolutely terrible because without his mis-truths, he has zero argument for his own election.

    April 18, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  6. once upon a horse

    so just HOW is Mitt going to step on the president's message? Obama is preaching fairness and shared sacrafice a message so far that many AMericans tend to agree with. In fact or 70% favored the Buffes Rule. So I guess Mitt will followup with it's ok for the wealthy to pay less taxes, get an even large tax cut under him, stop being jealous of the wealthy, get ready r the poor and middle class to shoulder most of the burden for the economy, and repeal Obamacare and replace it with?????

    April 18, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. Lisa P

    So Romney has no message, only a strategy to blanket the airwaves with mindless gibberish and nonsense in hopes of literally drowning out his opponent. Sort of like what he and his SuperPAC buddies did to Santorum. Got it. I'm so glad I'm voting for a real leader and visionary. Obama 2012

    April 18, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. Romney is not My Hero

    Obama Administration's response - "...the American people are right to collectively yawn over what promises to be another address heavy on hype and light on anything of substance," That's right!!! YAWNNNNN zzzzzzzzzzz

    OBAMA 2012!

    April 18, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. brad

    This is how out of touch is the GOP. Asking if your better off than 3 years ago?? Let's see, the DOW up to 13k, Osama is dead, we are out of Iraq and no threat of a depression. Banks, Car Industry are paying loans back, are you people and the ones who vote for you that stupid?

    April 18, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    "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."
    --------------------
    How typical. If that classic conservative talking point doesn't sum up their selfish greed, I don't know what does. Pres. Obama didn't promise to make anyone rich or wealthy, that's what Republicans would promise you. Pres. Obama promised to help the national economy, not pad your bank account or line your wallet. The real question that should be asked is the following:

    "Is the economy better off today than it was four years ago."

    April 18, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Anthony

    Romney has money so he should not be taken lightly. However, Romney has an uncanny ability to step on his own messages. The best campaign strategy cannot overcome a bad candidate.

    Regardless, Democrats need to go out and vote. Bad candidates can still win if people aren't paying attention. This country will be in better shape if we put Ted Nugent and others of his ilk in jail.

    April 18, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. anagram_kid

    As a hiring manager, if a potential job applicant sat in front of me in an interview and answered all my questions by pointing out their perceived failure of others, I would never hire them. People like this do not offer solutions, are disruptive to the work environment and are not productive.
    Obama 2012

    April 18, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. ltinny

    Romney is not in this to benefit the families of the USA...he sees this as a game, a hobby, nothing more.

    Obama 2012.

    April 18, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  14. rs

    I'll help and "bracket" Romney's message:
    * We need a permanant poor underclass: We'll make more, and give them no way out
    * We want women pregnant, poor, and with no alternatives. Plus, we'll take away any program that supports them. That gives them "freedom"!
    * We want old retirees to pay more for health care, and lower their Social Security
    * We want war with Iran, and war with North Korea
    * The rich are hurting, so we must cut their tax rates at all levels, and give stimulus money (tax dollars) to those poor oil companies.
    * We like deficits, we can take more from the poor to "pay them down" (fingers crossed).

    Have I got that about right?

    April 18, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. larry simpson

    I see the dems are still in denial lol! maybe they can join Obama next year when he is back to doing his community service thingy

    April 18, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. Ferret Out The BS

    The President has good strategists who should be up to the task of shaking up Romney's strategy. Romney's group think they've got this in the bag and that may be their downfall. He is too arrogant and believes that the majority of Americans are disatified with the President. Time will tell but I believe the President will win out unless the supreme court pulls some stunt like they did before.

    April 18, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. normajean @ verizon ,com

    I sit here reading and writing and thinking what a strange bunch of people we are. We write and read...the same people day after day.....mostly just talking to each other.,probably accomplishing nothing. Happily some of us state the improvements made, others rant about how nothing has been done. Do they equal out?? Who's to say.....but here we sit day after day doing the same thing and saying the same things....November can"t get here soon enough for me!!!!!!!!

    April 18, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Bill from GA

    Mitts will do and say ANYTHING to avoid actually committing to some facts about his plans for America's economy, other than Cutting Taxes Fotr The Rich.

    How will he balance the budget and still pay for the tax cuts?? Just trust him!

    April 18, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. Indy

    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.

    When you have everything to hide and no real solutions of your own this is what you do. Romney has nothing to offer anyone unless they have massive amounts of money, so he will run around like a jealous high school kid mocking everything you say and do.I suppose Romney would take his side show to Russia,Iran,and Korea and mock all the world leaders

    April 18, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  20. American

    The first thought I had was also that Romney is following, not leading.

    Leading would be Romney personally speaking out against Nugent's comments himself, which Mitt has not done.

    April 18, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  21. comeon

    @rs
    You forgot
    *We need a never ending war with Afghanistan, b/c we will never talk peace with them. They must be defeated.

    April 18, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  22. Lolo

    Bracket smacket, he will still lose. This man is not presidential material at all. No ifs, ands or buts about it. The republicans are only voting for him because this is the best they can do. If they had common sense and maturity I might have voted for them, but not this time. No one is telling the truth on the republican side, but guess what the good old boy network does not care so long as they can get the black man out of the white house. Just shameful to have so much hatred.

    April 18, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. anagram_kid

    From the article – "We're going to pose the question to voters 'are you better off now than when Obama took office…”
    How about asking this question instead. Have any of the dire things members of the GOP swore up and down would happen if Obama won the election actually occurred? That would be a big fat NO. He did not take any one’s guns away, he did not turn us into a socialist state, there was no second 9/11 … etc.
    The economy is improving, more illegal’s deported than Bush, auto industry recovered, stock market is up… At some point the GOP needs to put the country before their own selfish need to win for the sake of winning.

    Obama 2102

    April 18, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    The Truth wrote on page 1:

    "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. .....
    ---------------
    Hmmm. Nope, that comeback doesn't cut the Grey Poupon, pal. Like the rest of the Republican Party, you are way overreaching there, pal.

    April 18, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  25. Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Is Soo Plastic he Makes Mannequins Looks Real

    President Obama leads, and Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Romney follows!

    When is Mitt Romney ever going to stand on his own two feet instead of flip flopping and maybe, come out with his own policy proposal to fix anything?...

    When is the real Etch-a-Sketch Mitt gonna stand up and grow some back bone to be himself?! GUESS NOT!!!

    April 18, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
1 2 3