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. Sniffit

    Yes, might as well "retool" since Obama's brought you out back to the woodshed anyway.

    September 17, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  2. DumbasRocks [R]s

    As DocHollywood reminded us a few days ago:

    Definition of Insanity: – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
    Definition of Republican: – see Definition of Insanity

    September 17, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. kim

    If people knew the truth and hidden agenda of the Mormon faith, and how that faith considers all others as sub-human, then the robotic personality of Mitt Romney starts to make sense. This is a man indoctrinated from birth to be controlled by his superiors, and lying is considered useful to promote the religion. Warping the truth is not a problem for him, so picking Paul Ryan as a running mate fit his thought process perfectly.

    September 17, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Greg

    6 weeks before the election? We are supposed to think now he is a worthy candidate 6 weeks before the election??? Really? And some in this country will buy into this fraud?

    September 17, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. Margo

    Romney's a tool, he is desperate and can't make up his mind where he stands. 50 more day, tick tock. tick tock

    September 17, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. Steve- Illinois

    monolith, you do realize that government workers are automatic drain on the economy, don't you? If not, why doesn't the government just hire all the unemployed? Then the economy would boom, according to you Keynesian i di ots!

    September 17, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. Dante

    Rather telling that with less than 2 months until the election, Romney is still trying to come up with a message.

    September 17, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. TKO

    Oh yes, and Walter? Guess what, Chicago is not a country, not even a state. "Barry" is the president of the USA, not Chicago–he should stay out of local politics.

    September 17, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Steve- Illinois

    monolith, you do realize that government workers are automatic drain on the economy, don't you? If not, why doesn't the government just hire all the unemployed? Then the economy would boom, according to you Keynesian believers.

    September 17, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  10. robjh1

    An empty wagon always makes a lot of noise

    September 17, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. Name

    He might as bashed Obama about not doing anything on 911 because its true!

    September 17, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. SafeJourney

    A re-tool is still a tool

    September 17, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  13. nonyabidnes2

    All the money and kings men couldn't put Romney back together again...

    September 17, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. Tominwoburn

    Duh! This guy does not understand that people want specifics which he is not willing to give because he has no good intentions for the middle class. He will keep speaking in general terms throwing words like "principles of our country" and "freedom" and hiding the fact that he paid no taxes for many years. He has proven himself as a miserable failure on foreign policy. He can't even go to England, the easy date, without tripping all over himself. What a clown this Romney dude!

    September 17, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. Will

    Oh no, my pollsters are telling me that what I'm pretending to believe isn't popular. Time to pretend to believe in something else.

    September 17, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. Janet

    The economy that tanked under Bush and has been slow to recover because Congress has done nothing to support Obama's effort to revive it? That economy?

    September 17, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  17. annieL

    I wonder if Romney balanced his Bain budget without borrowing money somewhere along the way? I know he borrowed money in the name of the companies he managed and left some of them deeply in debt, yet still got his fat commissions, and capital gains, and paid his Bain investors handsomely. In business, most can't get started without borrowing and most can't grow without borrowing for expansion. In business, you get tax breaks for the interest on your debt. And in business you can go bankrupt and start all over. Many gazillionaires have bankrupted a company at least once on their way to excess riches. That's why he said to let GM and Chrysler bankrupt and let other rich guys pick up the pieces at fire sale prices. I'd say that Romney's business model for managing the national government isn't really something he needs to talk about in detail, but then he doesn't talk details about anything.

    September 17, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. Leroy

    It appears Bishop Romney is preparing to baptize his dying campaign...

    September 17, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. Shayna

    Mitt said he'd release 2 tax returns – still haven't seen the 2nd one...

    September 17, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. Susan

    "Internal strife"? How could the Republican Party have anything but "internal strife". The whole machine wreaks of distortions and untruths because how else can they bend the the middle class 99% to support and vote for the rich 1%? This is a farcical "democracy" at its very worst! Even if Romney lost (and I hope he does) look at the mess left over if the House remains Republican? Obama's last term will be another 4 years of an unwilling to compromise (against their own oath of office) Congress. It ought to be real depressing for the country.

    September 17, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. Katie

    I would vote for "Bo" Obama's dog before every voting for a man that will evenutally get us all killed! This man's foreign policy outlook is very scary and thinks he can fix an entire economy because he saved the Olympics (puleezzed) and made money for Bain Capital? Let's not forget how he got over on the people to make money for Bain! If this sounds sleazy, that's because he is. An old tired used Salesman IS WHAT HE IS! Send him home to Annie and his 18 Children!

    September 17, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    The Department of Homeland Security is a textbook example of the right wing military industrial complex. It was begun under George W. Bush, and has since grown into a $100 billion per year agency comprised of over 40 departments that oversee operations performed by nearly 500 subcontractors. It is another DoD in and of itself, and growing fast.

    September 17, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. FlotsamJetsam

    Retool now? Why?

    He is already behind with Women because of the Republican War on Women, is very weak with Hispanic voters and at almost absolute ZERO with blacks.

    The problem is not with the campaign, it is the candidate. Mitt has NOTHING to say to the American voters and only wants to run on the fact people may not be entirely happy with Obama.

    September 17, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. Col B

    The disclaimer says "Comments are not pre-screened before they post." Why did I get a message that said my previous comments were being "moderated" and then they did not appear?

    September 17, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    Perfect example of GOP/Teatroll rationalizations: "It's the messaging, not the message."

    September 17, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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