Romney campaign re-tools message for final stretch
September 17th, 2012
10:14 AM ET
6 years ago

Romney campaign re-tools message for final stretch

Washington (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is launching a new effort this week to inject energy and fresh policy details into a campaign that Republicans have criticized as listless and light on substance.

Romney will deliver a series of high profile speeches in the coming weeks, including one at the Clinton Global Initiative next week in New York City, to flesh out more specifics on what, exactly, Romney would do differently from President Obama if he captures the White House in November.

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His first such speech will be Monday afternoon at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles. The campaign said he plans to speak in greater detail about what sort of immigration plan he would implement as president.

The Romney campaign is also launching a new series of television ads Monday addressing Romney's "Plan For A Stronger Middle Class" that mark a departure from the gauzy but light-on-specifics ads the campaign ran in swing states after the GOP convention.

One ad, "The Romney Plan," shows Romney speaking in broad strokes about trade policy, a balanced budget and taxes.

A Romney campaign official acknowledged to CNN that Romney has not done enough to give voters a sense of what he would do if elected.

"Polling shows that voters recognize that Gov. Romney has a plan, but they want more details," said the official, who was granted anonymity to discuss internal campaign strategy. "Voters feel like they want to know more. It's not only true of Gov. Romney but also President Obama."

Romney has two major speeches being drafted for next week: One, at the Clinton Global Initiative, will illuminate fresh elements of Romney's foreign policy vision. Another, at NBC's "Education Nation" summit, will, naturally, focus on education policy.

Romney's running mate Paul Ryan will also take a more aggressive posture on the campaign trail, a source said. Ryan spent the latter part of last week sharply criticizing Obama on a range of issues, from the economy to his handling of the protests in the Middle East to his position on abortion.

That offensive will continue, explained the source, who said Ryan will be "message-focused" on the stump.

The new focus on policy detail comes amid reports of campaign infighting, with chief strategist Stuart Stevens bearing the brunt of the blame for a Republican convention that failed to deliver any serious momentum for Romney.

Campaign sources refused to characterize the new substance offensive as a strategy shift in the face of stagnant poll numbers, even though Republicans in Washington and elsewhere have said privately since the Democratic National Convention that Romney needs to shake up his message if he wants to win.

The Romney official said the latest campaign tweaks are routine at this stage in the race.

"We have got 50 days left and voters are starting to pay attention," the source said. "This is the time for us to clearly communicate what Gov. Romney will do to distinguish himself from President Obama."

Another Romney adviser embraced the challenge of being an underdog and said incumbents typically lead their challengers until the closing days of a campaign.

The adviser said the campaign made a calculated gamble to lay low during the Democratic Convention, even if it allowed President Obama to dominate that week's news cycle and secure a post-convention bump.

"We went dark over the convention and that saved us $20 million and we did it very deliberately knowing that when we came out of the convention we'd have less of a bump," the adviser said. "$20 million is $20 million, and you're competing against that other message. We are very disciplined about it. We would rather spend our $20 million now in an uncluttered environment."

Asked to describe the new tone of the Romney message, the adviser answered, "It's just a winning the election package."

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain: Mittens 'n' Munster are Liars

    Shouldn't the headline read, "Romney Campaign Flip-Flops Again in Desperate Ploy to Get Votes"?

    Because that's what he's doing, for Pete's sake! Compare that to President Obama, whose plans are clear, along with his record of accomplishment and progress (OBL dead, GM alive, 30 straight months of private sector job growth, housing turning around, etc., etc., etc.).

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    September 17, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Asked to describe the new tone of the Romney message, the adviser answered, "It's just a winning the election package."

    Otherwise known as "Shaking That Etch a Sketch" for all it's worth.

    TeamRomney: Worst. Campaign. Ever.

    Candidate Romney: Worst. Candidate. Ever.

    September 17, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. Bill

    Instead of having a coherant message fo the last year and a half, this oaf waits until the final six weeks of the campaign to prepare a focused message. To little, too late Mittens.

    September 17, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. GI Joe

    I've heard all the lies from him and his superPACs that I intend to listen to. They are asinine and insulting. Anything to get a vote.

    My state allows early voting in 21 days, and it WILL NOT be for the lying flip-flopping team of Vulture/Voucher.

    September 17, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. don

    How do you retool a message when you are on every possible side of an issue.

    September 17, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  6. Joan in MS

    Romney has been running for President for how long? 5 years?? After all that time, he has no specifics, no credible plan, and no new ideas.

    All he is offering is a retun to the economic and foreign policies of Dubya. No thanks. American will not double down on Dubya!

    September 17, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    "It's just a winning the election package." Really
    Then Change the candidate

    September 17, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  8. onlyfacts

    Unreal! They are saying the joke of a convention was deliberate. They saved 20 million to use after the convention. Only the stupid believe the stupid!

    September 17, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. ConcernedSNCO

    To late Mitt! The voters are not falling for it.

    September 17, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. Al-NY,NY

    "retools" schmetools..... no one is going to believe anything you say, especially about "tax cuts" until you man-up and show at least 5 years' worth. You are obviously hiding something. You asked for at least 10 years (but accepted less) for a VP candidate but you slime your way thru with only 2 (btw we're still waiting for that second one). Keep trying Flip. The show is getting better and better as the desperation grows

    September 17, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  11. Marty, FL

    Romney could 're-tool' by releasing his tax returns.

    Mitt should have done this a long time ago like every presidential candidate in recent history. Sorry, don't what Romney is hiding.

    September 17, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. judy

    they are tools. Lets see what we can make up today and maybe someone will buy it. He's talking about taxes when he won't talk about his own .? thats rich. He's flip flopped so much and out and out lied. what would he do in office?? Forward

    September 17, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  13. ST

    As a christian myself I understand that you get the name first before being baptised. Baptising enforces that you are a Christian known by so and so name. Mitt Romney should had plans right from the beginning even before he jumped into the competition. There could be no need of making speeches by now, instead he could be enforcing (campaigning) on the plans he has laid out already. Good that candidates have to go through lengthy period of letting people understand how they will govern. Am afraid to say that I am not impressed at all with Romney's style!

    September 17, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. vanessa

    "Asked to describe the new tone of the Romney message, the adviser answered, "It's just a winning the election package.""

    Wow!! There's an inspirational message to the American people if I've ever heard one! Sounds thrilling.

    September 17, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  15. OKTOGO77

    @Don: well said!!

    September 17, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota


    Instead of having a coherant message fo the last year and a half, this oaf waits until the final six weeks of the campaign to prepare a focused message. To little, too late Mittens.

    Begging the question: who is he trying to reach out to at this late date? Dude hasn't even shored up his base yet. Not only has he been running around insulting nearly every voting demographic that exists, here he comes now expecting we are to all fall in line and praise him for insulting our intelligence for the past year.

    September 17, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  17. GOP factually challenged

    Romney is re-tooling for final strech. I think he is planning on using the left handed screw driver.

    September 17, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  18. ritmocojo

    What he needs to do is get rid of Reince Priebus. This guy has too much hate for Obama to even think straight. I blame him for Romney jumping the gun on the embassy violence and ambassodor's death statement and turning into a political thing. And speaking of Reince Priebus, where the heck did the GOP come out with a guy with a name like that? Uranus?

    September 17, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. GI Joe

    Class warfare was declared when the "little people" stood up to the money changers (remember what the bible says about money changers?)

    The wealthy needed a bumper sticker slogan to put the blame on and further demean those who are not wealthy.


    September 17, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  20. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    Romney has no firm position on any issue except I'll repeal Obama care which we like don't want done and be won't release ten years o tax returns, where are they ,you already lost !!!!!

    September 17, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  21. thetruthandnothingbutthetruth

    try again in '16! this one is ova!

    September 17, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  22. nonyabidnes2

    This is where it gets dicey. With less than two months before the election, candidates, need their message crafted. To "Re-Tool" a message makes most wonder what was the message to begin with?

    September 17, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. scmom

    What is it a bold new Flip Flop? A Bold new Etch or Sketch? Or better yet a BOLD NEW LIE?

    September 17, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  24. canuck

    John Huntsman is beginning to look really good. He is the better the eyes on many. Too bad republicans chose the evil Mormon, the Cameleone one.

    September 17, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. daved

    That's a very weird photo accompanying this story. It looks like Romney is carrying an airplane door on his back. Is this part of the new campaign theme?

    September 17, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
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