Reno, Nevada (CNN) – Based on the details that his campaign is willing to release publicly, Mitt Romney is keeping a light event schedule this week. Still, a top aide to the GOP nominee maintains Romney is campaigning “very vigorously.”
But a look at the campaign’s recent itineraries suggest otherwise. While Romney has put in long days over the past week, he’s held only a handful of events.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
– Follow Jim Acosta on Twitter: @jimacostacnn
Romney started this week with a single rally in the battleground state of Ohio on Monday and then traveled to Chicago for an evening fundraiser.
Tuesday’s schedule was no more hectic. To mark the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the U.S., Romney flew four hours from Chicago to Reno, Nevada, to speak before a group of National Guard members. On the ground for little more than an hour in the Western swing state, Romney then hopped back on a plane for a five-hour flight to Jacksonville for a fundraiser Wednesday. Late Tuesday, Romney aides added a lone public event on Wednesday at the candidate’s campaign office in Jacksonville.
Despite the fact that the campaign has only hinted at a few additional public events for the rest of the week, a Romney spokesman insisted Monday the GOP nominee will “continue to keep up a pretty good pace.”
“The governor’s been campaigning very vigorously and we’re going to continue to campaign very vigorously,” Romney adviser Kevin Madden told reporters in Ohio on Monday.
But in recent days, fellow Republicans from former New York Gov. George Pataki to conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham have openly expressed their frustrations with Romney’s campaign strategy.
"If you can't beat Barack Obama with this record, then shut down the party. Shut it down. Start new, with new people," Ingraham said on her radio show Monday.
On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, Pataki said Romney needed to simplify his 59-point economic plan so that families in Ohio could understand his proposals. But Romney has done just that. In recent speeches, he has ticked off five main economic goals for a Romney administration. That boiling down, it seems, may need more time on the stove.
Romney's light schedule has not only been confined to this week.
After last Friday's government report on unemployment reaffirmed the nation's anemic jobs market, the Republican candidate spent nearly the entire day flying back and forth from a single event in Iowa, leaving precious little time on the ground to comment on the latest economic news. His second event of the day in New Hampshire began nearly a half-day after the jobs report was issued.
One top Republican strategist suggested it's time for Romney to step it up.
“Romney needs a busier schedule to make clear what he's fighting for. He can't afford to waste the three weeks until the first debate,” CNN political contributor Alex Castellanos said.
“Romney needs a narrative, a story, so voters understand he's going to bring change to a country that 70% of them believe is on the wrong track."
Others in the party want to see Romney sharpen his message.
Jennifer Rubin, a conservative blogger with the Washington Post, took issue with Romney’s foreign policy speech, marking the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The speech, before the National Guard Association, was supposed to give Romney the opportunity to address the war in Afghanistan, a subject he left out of his Republican convention speech, to the dismay of some in his own party.
“This was a wasted opportunity when he could have shown some mettle,” Rubin wrote on the Post web site. “His foreign policy message, not unlike his domestic policy message, is getting put through the Boston blender, it seems, coming out mush. That would be mush with no flavor.”
– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.