Romney campaign re-tools message for final stretch
September 17th, 2012
10:14 AM ET
2 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.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

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. Boo

    Robme is toast....

    September 17, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. Name

    Obama just does not talk about the issues he just plays the blame game and apologies for the killings of Americans. And lie so tired of this.Romney, Ryan time for new blood and not spilled blood of our service men and women who protect but whom Obama does not.

    September 17, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. the many faces of Romney

    Soon or later they will get it right. Let us hope it won't be after November 20th....

    September 17, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  4. Joe Skeen

    "50 days out and the voters are starting to pay attention..."
    No. We have always been paying attention, thus the reason you are down in the polls, shaking the etch a sketch yet again, and scrambling to find a footing before getting pasted in the elections. As was previously mentioned, worst campaign ever.

    September 17, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. faboge

    the only way to fix his campaign is to get a new candidate! This man is a lying joke!

    September 17, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. John The Electrician

    Etch-a-sketch time.

    September 17, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Gurgyl

    Is this dude lifting the plane to take away to Cayman islands???

    September 17, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. Jack in Florida

    That is the problem when you have no convictions of your own, but pander for those votes that are so desperately needed. It is called, flip flopping, once again. Such a pathetic example of a man. Queen Ann where's the pants in the Romney family,

    September 17, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  9. billy davis

    Oh gee, another Romney flip flop.

    September 17, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  10. Dan

    Going dark during the DNC? That was the exact opposite of what they did. They peppered the airwaves with attack ads just as they announced they would and Romney and Ryan went to battleground states to give stump speeches. They did not go dark. Plus they predicted the DNC would not move the polling much because the RNC didn't move the polling much. They were so very wrong.

    Polling doesn't show that voters know Romney has a plan and want to see more. Polling shows that voters know Romney says he has a plan but are frustrated when he says he won't show it to us until after he's elected. If he wants to be elected we deserve to know what that plan is.

    There is a reason Murdoch said if Romney didn't purge his campaign people and get new ones he was going to lose the campaign. Romney's friends can raise money, but they can't run a campaign.

    September 17, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  11. Faberge the Egg

    Does he always carry a plane door on his back like that? Looks kind of heavy, but he's smiling through it still. This is the kind of leader we want, one able to carry the heavy burdens of office and not complain.

    September 17, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. Romney 2.0

    Romney is like a Chinese product, great packaging on the outside and a useless piece of garbage on the inside.

    September 17, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  13. FeloniousMax

    "It's just a winning the election package."

    Translation, whatever will get us elected. This campaign is being handled worse than McCain/Palin, who'd have thought that was possible?

    September 17, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. Michael Johnson

    It's amazing how many conservatives ,lack the intelligence to figure out the same people who convicted you that stopping 396,000 entries from Mexico last year and that a beer making Obama was following Islam are being lied to? That fact half the US has a below average IQ explains conservatis

    September 17, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    As the failed governor of MA, mittens needs to show us his taxes so we can determine if his money laundering was legal, his $100 million in an IRA is above board, and his foreign accounts have been documented. Mittens, like most republicans, has bet against America his entire life.

    September 17, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. Mike Texoma

    Trouble is, if you vote for Romney you have no idea what you are getting. Is he a man of action? If so, what direction will his actions take? Willl he face down the ultra conservative in Congress or join forces with them? Is he the barn burning starve the beast idealogue or the moderate pragmatist whose clothing he wants to put on? Where is his heart? What is his conviction? if he is not the barn burning starve the beast idealogue he will have confrontation after confrontation with Congress, and his own vice-president, and get little done. Congress seems unlikely to back down. On the other hand, if he is, be very careful what you want, you might get it.

    September 17, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. GI Joe

    We don't need a last-minute knee-jerk policy on the economy.

    we already know he is for the wealthiest only.

    Too little, too late.

    Obama/Biden -- vote early in 21 days in my state. Obama/Biden

    September 17, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  18. Manish Gupte, PhD

    Why is he adjusting his message all the time? Are they details or actual changes..now one clearly credible way to see what he will do in the future is see what he did in past..then it comes down to is, is it romney's view or Ryan's view?? What does one expect...they got a math guys also when the first encounter with aliens was made (don't remember movie's name)..

    September 17, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. Mark

    Amazing that after years of campaigning and untold millions of dollars spent, Romney's campaign is still struggling to put the "real Romney" out there. It's not for lack of expertise in marketing and branding a candidate. I think the problem is that the campaign also knows that the "real Romney" will in fact be rejected by many, many voters. So the problem becomes–"how do we show people the 'real Romney' while at the same time hiding his repugnant policies and sketchy business past?"

    September 17, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. Manish Gupte, PhD

    Why is he adjusting his message all the time? Are they details or actual changes..now one clearly credible way to see what he will do in the future is see what he did in past..then it comes down to is, is it romney's view or Ryan's view?? What does one expect...

    September 17, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  21. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Don't let the door hit you on your backside on the way back to your car elevators.

    September 17, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  22. Alina77

    Obama is going to win, because he has a "secret weapon" – Romney...

    September 17, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  23. Mikey

    That etch-a-sketch must be pretty worn out by now. The severly conservative pro-choice, global warming dening, Romneycare is a good national model, pro-life, pro-gun control, climate change believing, Obamacare opposing, second amendment activist needs a new makeover? If the first 10 he's had in his political career didn't do the trick, what makes him think the 11th times the charm? What he doesn't understand is that with each lie, with each flip-flop, with each policy "clarification", he becomes less viable as a candidate.

    September 17, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  24. A not-so-stupid former republican

    All Romney does is talk in generalities not specifics because he has no plan, no nothing. The American electorate is begininning to recognize Romney for the fraud he is; they are also recognizing the republican party of the party of the past. The current republican party is irrelevant in today's world.

    September 17, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  25. Sniffit

    "Romney campaign re-tools message for final stretch"

    Translation: "Mittens shakes the etch-a-sketch yet again."

    September 17, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
1 2 3 4 5