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. juneopop

    I have not seen so many fanatics in politics as I have with todays Republican Party, and for the minority within the party who arent the cant hold the reigns over the ones who are this is truly disturbing

    September 17, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. ivan bial

    re-tooling. another way to say Flip-flop

    September 17, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. Name harold

    Laying low!!! Give me a break. It's strange that middle class is being mentioned now but the theme a few weeks ago was job creators. Dude is 65 years old and he knows this will be his last shot.

    September 17, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    "Re-tooling Message" I prefer to call it "kaleidoscoping." You turn it and turn it until you get just the right image you want.

    September 17, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  5. Rosslaw

    When I saw that picture of a restaurant owner picking Obama up in a bear hug, my first thought was that he would never do that with Mittens-Mittens would have to have a spine.

    September 17, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  6. Darlis

    Flip.. flop... flip.. flop...etch a new sketch??? will the real Mitt please stand up? is there a real Mittl. or just a rich boy
    who has long since bought everything he ever wanted except more power.. now trying to buy the White House.. ? are you bored Mitt?

    September 17, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. ohgran

    After all this time running and running he has to re-tool? Well, Mitt, the American people don't need someone so unorganized. If you can't run a campaign, we don't want you to run the USA. Go back to counting your money in the foreign banks and think about how much you screwed the American people who pay their taxes the way real Americans should.

    September 17, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. Hillcrester

    His "strategy change," to help him enough, needs to include

    Full support for implementing the ACA
    Support for abortion rights
    Repeal of DOMA
    Enacting the Dream Act and comprehensive immigration reform
    Repeal if Bush tax cuts for taxable incomes over $300,000
    Pledge to nominate Obama for Sec of Treasury
    Publishing the kast 20 years if his tax returns
    Promise to go to Switzerland for a personality transplant before innauguration

    With all that, he might win OH and have a chance if being elected.

    September 17, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  9. kate

    Here is the problem for Mitt. He has to pander to the far rightwing social conservatives because those folks don't really believe he is one of them. And they won't vote for him if they think he's not because they are entirely driven by their ideology. And Mitt desperately needs every single one of those votes. But as he panders to them, he alienates the vast majority of independent and moderate Republican voters (and libertarian Republicans like Eastwood) who don't see the government's role getting involved in marriage and reproductive choices. But that is ALL the social conservatives care about. So he keeps trying to play it back and forth and it's impossible. So much easier for Obama because his authentic views are so much more in line with the majority of both Dems and Independents.

    September 17, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  10. Sniffit

    Nothing says "core values" and "integrity" like "omg, I'm losing, I totally need to change my message at the last minute."

    September 17, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  11. T'sah From Virginia

    â–ºRomney campaign re-tools message for final stretchâ—„


    Romney campaign ETCH-A-SKETCH message for the final SKETCH!!!! lmao

    Obama/Biden 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    September 17, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  12. cc423

    He's a "tool" all right...

    September 17, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  13. Indy

    Republicans portray Mitts as the best businessman in the world and he has had eight long years to re tool and he leaves it to the last couple months before the election. TOO LITTLE,TOO LATE Romney.Mitts has no connection whatsoever to the middle class and re tooling is not going to help in the 11th hour, TOO LITTLE,TOO LATE !

    September 17, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. Hillcrester

    It is refreshing to have him tacitly admit what his fans deny: The polls are right, and he is losing badly.

    Alas, with less than 5% of voters at all open to changing their minds, it is probably too late for Mittens.003 to make up enough ground to win,

    September 17, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  15. Tim

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

    LOL – notice that he plans to speak in "broad" strokes. How's THAT for "getting more specific!!!" He STILL won't give details!!!

    September 17, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. JeffinIL

    He's finally going to run on something other than, "I'm not Obama!"? Good, because that strategy certainly didn't work for John Kerry when he ran on, "I'm not Bush!"

    September 17, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  17. Hillcrester

    What Kate wrote–exactly.

    September 17, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  18. Jean

    Romney and Ryan have yet to be specific on anything! Any one can say I will create thousands of jobs, support the middle class, tax breaks for all and a booming economy...HOW!?? Just like Gingrich said he would miraculously have $2.50 gas prices, it is easy to talk and worry about the details later. Maybe the office of the presidency should have a 6 month trial period, can't anti up? Next guy step up. Do they think we are really that stupid that we would take their word??

    September 17, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Hiding behind slogans is what conservatives do best. They promised jobs in 2010, but gave is right wing social engineering, instead.

    A new study on month to month jobs figures reveals that month to month jobs growth since 2010 under the Obama adminstration is on average higher than month to month jobs growth during the peak of the GWB administration.

    September 17, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  20. Are you kidding me?

    The final days of his abysmal campaign. Looks like a fish out of water and he has not offered anything of substance to say how he would handle anything. What a joke and an epic failure.

    September 17, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  21. B.

    Yeah, get out the Etch a Sketch and try to reinvent yourself -again- Mitt, but you better hurry-up, it is almost over, and you are running out of platitudes and ideas.....

    Jello sandwich –

    September 17, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  22. Freeman2

    If in the course of events should by some unforeseen coincendence Romney win as did Bush God Bless Us All!
    For in the face of all adversity, in light to the principles to our Constitution and the demeaning acts of this Congress, indicates the selfishness, the inbred greed of these so called representative of the people, are nothing more than puppets of wealthy constituents(BIG BUSINESS) managing the liberties and way of life of the working class , middle and poor. Their aim to remove the middle class and regain a foothold with managing a large populace of poor individuals, beggars in their eyes, as a supreme controlling mechanism as practiced by early Marxism.
    Should I go on? Should I be shut out or be REMOVED from this transmission it would only indicate that

    September 17, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  23. Chuk

    No amount of "re-tooling" will fix a bad message. Romney's message would have been more respectable if he were himself – instead of running so far to the right that no one knows who he is anymore. Running as a right-wing nut, or more precisely "severely conservative", is no virtue.

    September 17, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  24. Are you kidding me?

    The basis of his reason for running is simple and stupid. If Obama can win I am entitled. That is not enough. Pivoting against every action and decision is not a way to winning either. Willard and the GOP need to take a step back and realize they are not leaders. Time for rationale thought and critical thinking.

    September 17, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  25. GA Pride

    Here comes the flip flop... That is the re tooling. Now we are for healthcare but during the primaries we needed to be against it because we couldn't win the conservative vote. Now we are going to try and go to the middle. If anyone can believe this man, then you are no better than him. American Greed, he will sell US out to China just like the BUSH's sold us out to the OIL tycoons. We need to be a socially responsible country. We protect our own and remember that our economies are global. He have to be the change and the leader, NOT the Dog with the biggest Bark type of leader, but the strategic leader.

    September 17, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
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