Will rift report distract from new economic message?
September 17th, 2012
10:58 AM ET
2 years ago

Will rift report distract from new economic message?

Los Angeles (CNN) - After a tumultuous week marked by Republican hand-wringing over his comments on unrest in Libya and Egypt, Mitt Romney is going back to the beginning. The GOP nominee is refocusing his message on the issue repeatedly singled-out by campaign advisers as the one that will decide the election: the economy.

Based on excerpts released from a speech Romney is scheduled to deliver to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Monday in Los Angeles and two new TV ads, Romney appears to be starting the week with a simpler, easier to understand economic pitch to voters.

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"I know how to balance budgets. We balanced our budget in my business, in the Olympics, and every year in my state," Romney is expected to say in his address.

Romney echoes that message with plain language in his new ad. "Gotta balance the budget. You gotta cut the deficit," he says in the spot.

In one excerpt from his speech Monday, Romney will recommend "combining agencies and departments" of the federal government, a remedy for red ink he has rarely talked about publicly.

Romney's address is "consistent with what we've done on the economic message but also adding more details on exact measures to grow the economy," senior adviser Kevin Madden told CNN.

"Contrast that with Obama who has no second term agenda," Madden added.

With polls showing him trailing badly among Latino voters, Romney will also tailor his message on immigration. Absent from the excerpts released by his campaign is any talk of self-deportation.

The return to the economy follows days of open criticism from some top Republican strategists and pundits about Romney's comments on the recent diplomatic attacks in Libya and his overall strategy for winning in November.

A new distraction for the campaign emerged late Sunday night in a glaring report from POLITICO, which revealed some of the tensions brewing among Romney's top advisers. In the report, Romney strategist Stuart Stevens is blamed for some of the perceived mishaps at the Republican Convention, most notably Clint Eastwood's memorable, yet bizarre speech to an empty chair.

A senior Romney adviser dismissed the POLITICO piece as inside baseball gossip. "Stu is part of the team," the adviser said.

Reports of internal strife plagued John McCain's campaign in the weeks before the 2008 election. Stories about the infighting surrounding McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate eventually interfered with the Arizona senator's campaign message.

The POLITICO story on the Romney campaign is beginning to have the same effect, but for how long remains unclear.

On Twitter, former speechwriter to President George W. Bush and CNN contributor David Frum said the POLITICO piece "utterly misses the point."

"The Romney campaign has a messaging problem because it has a policy problem," Frum tweeted.

The Republican nominee, however, responded to the reports in an interview to air on Telemnundo Monday, saying he has a has a "terrific campaign" and there will be "no changes" to his team.

"I've got a terrific campaign," Romney said, according to a transcript of the interview. "My senior campaign people work extraordinarily well together. I work well with them. Our campaign is doing well."

Pressed further about whether he'll make adjustments to his campaign staff, Romney said: "No, I– I've got a good team."

And on a campaign conference call, top Romney adviser Ed Gillespie appeared to offer up a defense of the convention while discussing the agenda ahead.

"After a successful convention where people learned a lot about Mitt Romney as a person, they’re eager to hear more about policies."

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (619 Responses)
  1. harrisonhits2

    Hey if one set of lies doesn't work why not try another ?

    September 17, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. Pete

    Etch-a-sketch ON!

    September 17, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Romney perpetually failing

    Its too late for Rombot. His sorry as campaign has consistantly failed 5/6 of the campaign thus far and keep onsaying, oh just wait until the convention or wait until the debates, Romney will fail at all of them, too bad CNN became Romney surrogates ealier this spring, this is probably why your ratings are falling out of orbit, keep it right wing CNN, your doing great, justlook at your ratings.

    September 17, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Romney 1040 or Obama 2012.

    The Republican party thinks corporations are "people", but that the people of the USA are just a "business".

    Government is FOR the PEOPLE, and BY the PEOPLE. NOT BUSINESS.

    September 17, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. jinx88

    Just say Mittens is gonna flip flop and tell more lies rather "retool his campaign".

    September 17, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Russ139

    Memo from Roger Ailes to Romney Campaign: "Plan B (Ryan as VP) didn't work. Go to Plan C ("Change Your Message" theme)"

    Romney Campaign: "Yes sir. First thing Monday morning."

    September 17, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. MightyMoo

    Romney can retool all he wants, it won't make a hill of beans when it comes to who gets my vote in November. Besides there is nothing wrong with the current president. The problem is in Congress and needs cleaned out of all the do nothings in both chambers.

    September 17, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. Romney 1040 or Obama 2012.

    R'money... business... as usual.

    September 17, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. Lyndon

    Romey cant fake authencisity his solutions are to move back to the bush years and the gingrich congress more dept more wars govement shut downs and more poverty really america

    September 17, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  10. russ

    break out the etch-a-sketch

    September 17, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. Phi Thomas

    all of you RNC water carriers getting ready to vote against your best interest that is unless you make 350K a year. Campaigns that are ahead don't need to retool, only campaigns that are caught lying to Americans on National TV, jump and exploit a civil servants death in a desperate attempt to tie the sitting president to another. Look these guys are in this whole because they thought they could just say were better than the other guy. Never mind that you have people from the administration (Bush) that sank this country into a depression as your advisers. Never mind you are beholden to about five families who have funded about 85% of your campaign. Its over because these guys under estimated the average American voter, voter suppression didn't quite work the way they wanted. The hat mongering not so much and Americans keep asking what do you have in Store Mitts, because your not saying

    September 17, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. babooph

    If all is ok,why the desperation stuff& why are other republicans running away?It is not like he is short of cash & has not had enough time-he has been running for 10 years & the Koch bros have endless $$$.

    September 17, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Not sure why everyone is so in love with Obama. He talks a good game but thats it. Things are much worst both domestically and internationally. What is it you all like? The press has worked Romney over because it wouldnt matter if Jesus (and no I'm not religious) was the candidate, the press is left leaning and have the power to destroy.

    September 17, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Abe Lincoln

    As Muslim violence spreads to Afghanistan, above, the Obama administration dispatches UN Ambassador Susan Rice to defend theory that attack last week on US Consulate in Benghazi was a 'spontaneous' act, a position Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif insists is 'completely unfounded and preposterous.'

    September 17, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Katie

    This man is all the place. He is very desperate now to do whatever it takes to make Obama look bad. Poor Old Mitt Mitt. Has anyone noticed that this man has aged so badly over the last few months? OMG what about that walk. I think Mitt a titt titt needs to hold on to his Medicare/Medicaid cards as he will have to use them soon! Just saying....

    September 17, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. NFLD thought

    WHAT? Another flip-flop by Romney? NO, can't be.
    Why doesn't this guy and the GOP just go away, concede the election and try to find a credible candidate to take on Hillary in four years.

    September 17, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. dave

    i want to see this guys tax returns not to see how much he paid either. in my opinion i think i know what he is hiding. off shore banks were formed to avoid taxes not because they paid a high return on savings. when you file your taxes the IRS requires you t0 fill out a form that shows activities in you off shore bank accounts. the IRS had such a big problem with so many people not filling out the forms that shows activities in your off shore accounts that they offered an amnisty for people to come clean on theses accounts. the amnisty means you admit to in this case committing a felony in return for a promise not to be punished. with the kind of business this guy was in and his flip flopping on the issues and his lies i don't trust this man. if he did what many other rich people were doing i want to know if he admitted to a felony or not! the only place that would show he took the deal offered by the IRS is in his tax returns!

    September 17, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. Andrew

    I can't wait until this clown fades into the background.

    September 17, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. MesaMom

    Mitt would say ANYTHING to get elected. Well, the exception to that would be a word against the big oil that have funded his campaign.

    September 17, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. Marie MD

    Fkip flopping again. They still don't know what to do to defeat the President and every time they try to lie or pretend he is a world leader we wNg he dials miserably!!!
    Give it up twit. You are one of those guys who is uncomfortable in his own skin. You feel and look awkward among those who are not the "right" color (who let the dogs out comes to mind with young black kids) and the middle class and poor. You can't even run on your religion or genealogy because it was about polygamy NOT financial misfortune. I bet you don't even speak Spanish having a father who WAS born in Mexico!! It takes much more than pretending you like tacos (American BTW) or enchiladas.

    September 17, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. John Mann

    In a semi-related story, "Romney to appeal to Hispanic voters".

    Too late for that! But while trying mr romney, be sure to say something they can relate too like, "howdy y'all...I ate a biscuit and some cheesey grits....yummy."

    September 17, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. rmoffatt

    Mr. Romney might try to re-invent himself until the 'cows come home', and change direction when the wind decides to blow in a different direction. He is, however, what he is. How dare he treat the American people as idiots. We understand the concept of past history and future hope. Mr. Romney woud have us coping with his whirl wind of changing stance as opposed to a stalwart position. This is a little too exhausting. Where does he really stand? What does he really believe? Where is the information? Where is his belief? So far, all I can fathom...he wishes to take money out of my pocket – and put it in his.

    September 17, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. Reggie from LA

    Yes. Retool. Then we'll believe everything the Romney campaign says. Overnight he will evolve into an economic, foreign policy, socially-in-touch butterfly. I'm not sure how this is going to happen, but I'll be anxious to see it, but don't imagine it'll run more than skin deep.

    September 17, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. daninmass

    Bottom line is the more we make programs that serve *All* Americans, the more the working majority has to pay for these services. Rarely do any of the government programs (like healthcare) effect them. What's happened to hall of our healthcare costs THROUGH THE ROOF! (mine to the tune of 200 per paycheck and a 4k deductible). But yeh, my non-working neighbors (who all drive luxury cars and don't pay into the system) now have healthcare. So what's the incentive to work hard and try to move up? This is what's wrong with communism. But hey – stay focused on "smokescreen issues" (abortion etc). I'm not a Republican and don't agree with all of their politics. I just look at my paycheck and see where a huge chunk of my money is going. The choice for me is easy.

    September 17, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. JJ

    Good luck with that, Mitt Zero. Your party has been obstructing progress on the economy since January 2010. You're not getting any traction by justifying the actions of TRAITORS.

    September 17, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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