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. elbrown

    Get out the etch-a-sketch!

    September 17, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. WhatTheWhat?

    "I know how to balance budgets. We balanced our budget in my business, in the Olympics, and every year in my state,"
    You "balanced" the Olympics budget by taking gobs of the TAX payers money, you hypocrite!

    September 17, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. cheekyindian

    AKA he wants to flip flop again LOL....

    September 17, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. annieL

    Wow. Wish I could get what I want by just "simplifying" my message. I think I'll try it. I need a much better-paying job to balance my budget, so I'll go to a hospital, apply to be an ER surgeon and say, "Look. It's simple. Hire me to do your surgeries because I've clipped my toenails, extracted splinters with tweezers and pulled my kid's loose baby teeth."

    September 17, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. ss12343

    GOP made a mistake by not choosing the only winnable candidate in Huntsman, the moderate who would appeal to independents and moderate democrats as well.

    But the right wing religious lunatics and neo-cons did not help his cause.

    September 17, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. DW

    He has said enough and has yet to show his taxes. That is enough for me to vote for OBAMA/BIDEN 2012.

    September 17, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. Patriot Awesome

    If he can't even run a campaign, how do we expect him to run a country?

    September 17, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. a slozomby

    so is romney running on the im not mitt romney platform now?

    September 17, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. daivalin

    In a nutshell, Romney doesn't know what to say until his advisors tell him. Sounds just like that Republican president who only played a scripted part; Ronald Ray-gun. But then, he was an actor to begin with. Retool the fool sounds like the plan.

    September 17, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. Vinny

    Romney is a TOOL!!!!

    September 17, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  11. Bob Farrell

    Mitt "The Ken Doll" Romney will do anything, change anything he needs to to get elected. That's why we don't know who he really is or what he really stands for. Watch out for a big lack of leadership if he gets elected. He'll be a pole watcher vs a leader.

    September 17, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. dc

    Handwringing? Did you witness this or are we looking at another piece of liberal commenting disguised as news...

    September 17, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. Paladin Knight

    A retool means he is shaking the Etch-A-Sketch once again!!! WHAT A TOOL ROMNEY IS!!!!

    September 17, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. Gurgyl

    This guy is a trip, spoiled one from the most idiotic GOP and world is laughing at this man. Does he know this? This guy is so pathetic.

    September 17, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. Tony from Oakland, Ca.

    A Candidate who refuses to show us his taxes wnats us to trust him regarding how he will fix the tax structure for Balancing the Budget and bringing down deficits.
    And, this Candidate also refuses to provide the public information detailing which tax loopholes he would elimainate to balance the deficit. Because no deficit has ever been balanced without changing the taxation code. Like all other Republicans before him.....he refuses to provide no info on this detail.
    His "new" approach will still lack this info.......and he will still lose...........
    America is not in the mood to read a "mystery" novel when it comes to unbalanced budget/deficit/Coporate welfare.

    September 17, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Mitt Romney: I feel your pain and I understand what the middle class is going through. And by the way, I know what adversity is too. After all, Rafalca didn't medel at the Olympics. Hehe!

    September 17, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. so...

    65 year study finds that tax breaks and cuts do not grow an economy....hmmmm

    September 17, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  18. Sid Prejean

    This is just me talking, but I make it to be September 17, 2012.
    The election is in seven weeks, the guy has been running for five years, and NOW he's going to "retool" his message. Not much message to start with, if you ask me.

    September 17, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. John Smith

    Etch-a-sketch time! (Again...)

    September 17, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. Vince

    Desperate men do desperate things. If he at least stood firm on one issue he might have an ounce of credibility.
    His true colors are once again shining through. And they aren't red, white and blue.

    September 17, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. JohnYuEsq

    "Here was ­America under attack, with four dead on foreign soil. And here was Romney, defiantly refusing to adopt a tone of sobriety, solemnity, or seriousness, instead attempting to score cheap political points, doubling down on his criticism.” John Heilemann in New York Magazine.

    NitWitMitt Romney = Economic MELTDOWN/DEPRESSION + WORLD WAR III = NUCLEAR ARMAGEDDON

    REGISTER and VOTE for President OBAMA who PROTECTS America's MIDDLE CLASS. VOTE the DEMOCRATIC TICKET to STOP the GRIDLOCK in D.C.

    September 17, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. ObamaUntil2016

    "Self-deportation!" "Self-deportation!" "Self-deportation!" "Self-deportation!"

    Let's never forget! Yo quiero, Presidente Obama! Viva Obama!

    September 17, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. PeterD

    Romney looks Presidential than Empty Suited Blck Used Car Salesman Look alike Obama.

    September 17, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  24. annieL

    I'm actually beginning to feel sorry for Mr. Romney. He is SO close to getting the big prize he has wanted for so long, since being a multimillionaire turned out not to be as fulfilling as he thought it would be. Or maybe he feels like a business failure since so many of his buddies are BILLIONAIRES and he never made that much. Or maybe his trophy wife is bored in her mansions and wants to live in the White House. I think I'll give him my "sympathy vote." Bless his heart. He tries SO hard.

    September 17, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. natFrankie

    Hey Mr. Romney – why don't you release those tax forms for the past 10 years???? that would certainly give the electorate something ELSE to concentrate on...something besides your non-campaign...

    September 17, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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