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. Marie MD

    That should read he fails miserably in the first sentece.

    September 17, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. Katie

    I agree with Dave! Be gone Mitt Mitt!

    The problem isn't with Romney's message. The problem is with Romney. He is simply an arrogant, loud-mouthed flip-flopper who will say anything to get elected. This perception of him isn't going to change no matter what he does.

    September 17, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. Big Jilm

    Veering even harder now to the right when your first tactic of shifting right didn't work, huh Ratt Money? Your logic here is enough to send voters away.

    But please, let's focus on your Mormonism cult, John Smith's record of fraud, banishment, and polygamy. Explain to us the secrets of Mormonism and your beliefs on the after life. I'm sure your evangelical supporters would love more details on that.

    September 17, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. Yeahona

    If you paint a zebra pink, that doesn't make it a horse. It just makes it a pink painted zebra. If Mitt's message isn't resonating, he can change it all he wants, but in the end, its the same person and same message.

    September 17, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Boo

    HE HAS NO MESSAGE!!!! The only message he has is "whichever way the wind blows."

    September 17, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. myviewis

    What economy???? we don't have an economy anymore with Obama, we're facing bankruptcy.

    September 17, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Pallladin S.f.
    Ya better change you Logo. The real Palladin would arrest you for impersonating a person.

    September 17, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Corey

    Put your big boy pants on Romney because balancing a budget that lets the screwing go around evenly requires both cutting spending and raising taxes. If you want to spend 2 trillion on the military you have to pay for it and that doesn't mean cutting things you don't like. Also reducing the deficit requires that once a surplus is obtained the GOP can't cut taxes and the Dems or the GOP can't spend that surplus.

    September 17, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. maggie

    No amount of re-tooling can alter a flawed candidate and campaign. The fact that Governor Romney is flailing is a consequence of him and only him.

    September 17, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Brian Lund

    Romney's message is very clear... He expects the voters to believe in his leadership abilities and ignore all evidence to the contrary. He expects the voters to imagine a Romney Administration solving numerous, complicated problems while he lacks the intelligence to spell it out a concrete plan for us.

    September 17, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. ED FL

    Your Message isn't bad it is the person ststing the message. You Romney aren about as impressive as a rock at high tide .. NON EXISTANT . boring is not an assett.

    September 17, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    Not just a messaging problem, TeamRomney. Far as I can tell, the candidate himself is running on empty. Guess Mitt Romney thought he could just mosey on into the White House without being held accountable to his party, to his beliefs, or to the American people ... kinda like he did during his Bain days.

    September 17, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. Sharkmann

    Lets balance the budget just like I did at Bain. Take in as much money as I can from those who do not pay my bills, IE- give a lot to my campaign- and give as little back as possible. That is how you run this country like a business.

    September 17, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. Uhm!

    Flip, Flop – new, old and on and on. I can't trust this guy to even try and do what he says. That is a key difference with Obama. Obama tried and got beaten up, okay at least he tried. I just can't believe a word out of Mitt's mouth and it is no ones's fault but his own.

    September 17, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. Corey

    Put your big boy pants on Romney because balancing a budget that lets the skrewing go around evenly requires both cutting spending and raising taxes. If you want to spend 2 trillion on the military you have to pay for it and that doesn't mean cutting things you don't like. Also reducing the deficit requires that once a surplus is obtained the GOP can't cut taxes and the Dems or the GOP can't spend that surplus.

    September 17, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Thom Parrott

    Obama worst president EVER! What a joke! Why. Just open your eyes! What was it like to to be in Rome when the Roman Empire fell apart? I bet just like this! Dump Obama or continue the slide...

    September 17, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. Knucklehead

    Don't you have to be focused first before you can re-focus?

    September 17, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. mark hensley

    And still no concrete plans on how he would fix the problems.
    Notice how he hasn't said anything about Taxing the wealthy.
    The only real decision. Yes, it's a tough one for a politician to admit to.
    Obama has the balls. Romney doesn't.

    September 17, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. Qev

    "Etch-a-Sketch" in effect.

    September 17, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Wheeeewww!!!!! What's that smell??!!!

    Oh, its just you [R]s taking another political enema.

    September 17, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. Mitt Romney

    My new message will not include me releasing my taxes.

    September 17, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  22. sommer

    How nice! Mitt wants to say what he thinks the people of US want to hear...not what he believes in. Well, Mitt, you get a big BOOOOOOO!

    September 17, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  23. timothy

    Romney to retool, as if this new word for Etch-a-Sketch matters. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

    September 17, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. 3vilmonkey

    Wow. If Mittens were an upper manager at the company I work for, he's be that one guy that EVERYONE loves to hate. The greedy, cash-grabbing, opportunistic nitwit with not a single moral fiber or bone in his body. So... how is it even remotely possible that he's running for President?? Are there really that many utterly twisted American's in this country, that we would elect a spineless villain that everyone in their right mind utterly despises??

    September 17, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. pbernasc

    Well ... now we know he sucks at foreign policy .. thank you for making it clear, Romney.
    How boring .. we know the result, why wasting time and money for these elections, just give it in and allow Obama to do his job, the GOP can try in 2030

    September 17, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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