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. Deist

    If Willard wants to "re-tool" his message, why not ask his V.P. selection, Koch brothers "tool" Ryan. Could the "Rolls Royce' ticket be any more foolish? The enormity of their impending loss in November will hopefully yank control of the GOP from the hands of the socially and religiously bigoted who now control these "1% robots"

    September 17, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. Evangenital

    Here comes an etch a sketch moment!!

    September 17, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. a slozomby

    how could he possibly have thought running on the " i want to be like bush" platform was going to be a good thing.

    September 17, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. bunky2000

    Dave- While I agree with your opinion of Romney, The Olympics do not receive any continuous funding from the government. The Olympics are a non-profit organization that relays on funding from private donation, corporate sponsorship, ticket sales, and advertisers.

    September 17, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Ed Gillespie, a Mittens' campaign lackey, is already being reported as responding to inquiries on this "new specifics" crap by saying the same substanceless nonsense Mittens has been vomitting for months, with no new details, and then insisting on it being new and more specific than ever. This is nothing more than Mittens trying a "rebranding"...shiny new packaging for the same tired message. They are clearly hoping that simply by saying it's all "new" and "more details" that the MSM, CNN included, will uncritically report on it he-said-she-said style and thereby help them alter the narrative.

    September 17, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  6. v_mag

    Oh, goody! Let's get back to the economy! I want to hear anything Rob-money has to say about the way Bush wrecked the economy, and exactly how he would be different from Bush. Bush cut taxes on the rich, and Rob-money wants to cut them more. Bush deregulated banks, and Rob-money wants to deregulate them more. Bush screwed with Medicare and Social Security, and Rob-money wants to take them down to the nub.

    Yeah, let's talk about that economy, Mittler!

    September 17, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. AMERICANFIRST

    Romney will prove to be one of the very best President this nation has ever produced.
    He is loyal to principle and loyal to American values.

    He is the only leader in this race and he will win this election.

    September 17, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. MANative

    Mitt is kind of like weather in NE – if you don't like it now, wait 5 minutes cuz it'll change.... Surprise surprise but he is not popular in his own "home state" of MA.

    September 17, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. CURIOUS

    Willard Romney is not presidential.

    September 17, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. pkrbkr

    Etch-a-Skech Mittens/Ryan......Retool? did they have a tool to "re?" The American people have no idea what his "tools" are! Obama/Biden 2012

    September 17, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. Tim

    When Economy sinks into the greatest deficit we have ever known and our country is own by foreigners. I want all these left wing traitor found and departed out our countries they don't deserve to be American. Their blindness and arrogance is unnerving. The path we are on as a nation will not be fixed by more spending and more Government bailouts. When you children grow up and have no future I want America to look these extremist up and blame them. Mitt Romney is the only one who can save America and turn our deficit around. Don't let these sarcastic idiots change your mind America. Vote for change for your children future. Vote for Mitt Romney.

    September 17, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. Hillcrester

    At least the Romney camp is admitting that what they have been doing hasn't worked.

    If the Mittens don't fit, they must reboot.

    September 17, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Mick

    Romney is a Toole!

    September 17, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. Doc Magnus

    Message re-tooling is taking place at the Bain-owned manufacturing facility in Xinhua.

    September 17, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. Bob, NY

    You wish to put the same guys that created America's economic mess back in power? ...I think I can see the terrorist's from my back yard!

    September 17, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. Anthony

    what economic policy does he have? he has offered no details as to what he would do different. All he has done, like in all other areas of this Election, is say i will undo everything OBAMA did. OK fine typical GOP Rhetoric. But what will YOU DO TO BETTER THE COUNTRY? What vision do you have? how will you go about accomplishing what ever it is your plan is? WHAT IS YOUR PLAN as a matter of fact, other then more tax cuts to the people who already have more money then they know what to do with?

    September 17, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. Debra from Atlanta

    lies, lies, and more lies, Mitt, if you are going to re-tool tell the truth

    September 17, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. Sheldon Adelson's errand boy

    Romney's a liar and an idiot – he would hand the economy to the rich & U.S. foreign policy to Sheldon Adelson. Fortunately the American people have seen through this weasel. Buh-bye.

    September 17, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. Hillcrester

    Isn't it about time the beta version of Mittens gets the bugs out and is cleared for general release? I mean, the guy has been running for president for 6+ years!

    September 17, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  20. "Oust the House", vote a straight Dem ticket in 2012!

    Due to the "depth of the GOP bench"(more like splinter) I truly thought this twit was the best candidate.

    I overlooked his penchant for "familiarity to breed contemp".

    September 17, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. Bob, NY

    That's not re-tooling...it's called "throwing a tantrum"

    September 17, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. kimberly

    Romney is his own worst enemy. He is the male version of sarah palin. He knows NOTHING, and is only doing this to be in power. It has NOTHING to do with wanting to help this country. He is the worst person the Republicans could have picked. Its clear he wont win, even with the voter supression laws his good ol boys are trying to put in place. Its over for this man, I hope he never runs again!!!!

    September 17, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  23. v_mag

    The way Mitt is talking, pretty soon he'll be requiring the middle class to be paying money directly to the 1% instead of filtering it through the government, as it is currently done. I haven't heard any of those phonies explain the new study that shows that, in 60 years of tax cuts for the rich, there is no evidence that it has stimulated investment or helped the economy in any way. The only effect has been to increase the wealth gap between the 1% and the 99%. That path leads America to third world status, not to prosperity.

    Tax the rich back to the Stone Age.

    September 17, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    "The Romney campaign has a messaging problem because it has a policy problem," Frum tweeted.
    ----------------------
    How many times have you heard me say that conservatives always believe that polling problems are caused by people not listening or hearing their message? It never seems to occur to them that it is the message content that is actually the problem.

    September 17, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. Tim

    In addition to giving to and through the Mormon Church, the Romneys' main donations are to cure cancer, multiple sclerosis, and cystic fibrosis; to help the blind; and to help disadvantaged inner-city youths and disabled youths. They have given to libraries, to AIDS victims, to Harvard. In addition, Romney in 1997 created and led the Bain Capital Children's Charity Ltd., which spends more than $1 million annually on youths. Romney served for years on Boston's City Year, a group that works to help at-risk kids stay in school and graduate.

    September 17, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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