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. judith

    us_1776 has is exactly right. Romney wants to give further tax cuts to those in the one percent, and refuses to explain what deductions and loopholes he'd end to do it. He also wants to further increase our already bloated military budget. There is class warfare people and Romney's class has been winning for a long time. Voting for him would be an absolute capitulation to the oligarchs. Vote Obama and all the Dems.

    September 17, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. Belseth

    If at first you don't succeed flip flop again!

    September 17, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. kate

    Romney is to retool his campaign, he is a tool! He reminds me of a mortician, how he looks.

    September 17, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. Voodoo Boogie

    Romney: "Can I get a Mulligan?"

    September 17, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    "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 "balanced the budget" at the Wnter Olympics by obtaining a government grant, making it the most expensive Olympics in US history. The Salt Lake Winter Games, which were supposed to have been 100% privately financed, cost taxpayers nearly twice what the Atlanta Summer Games had cost. That's why they called in private investment expert Mitt Romney in the first place. What is so remarkable about the astronomical cost is that Winter games cost less because they are inherently MUCH smaller than a Summer Games event. Fewer events, facilities, athletes, etc.

    September 17, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  6. Russ139

    "Gotta balance the budget." "Gotta cut the deficit."
    (Translation): "Gotta get elected."

    September 17, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  7. midwstrngrl

    Just show your taxes dude.

    September 17, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  8. GOP factually challenged

    Sorry but the left handed monkey wrench ain't going to work. Better get a bigger hammer to pound the square peg through the round hole.

    September 17, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  9. Syd

    Shake up that Etch-a-Sketch .. I mean refocus the message ...... riiiiiight.

    September 17, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  10. Swearengen

    What new message? I will lower taxes (especially for the top income earners) and magically, like fairy dust, millions of jobs will be available to all those who seek one (expecially the under educated and under skilled) The gop has been pushing that same message for decades now. Forget are you better than you were four years ago. How about are you better off than you were in the eighties – I didn't think so.

    September 17, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. kate

    Matt, the Supreme Court decided for George W. Bush, America was robbed of their election.

    September 17, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  12. midwstrngrl

    taxes. one word.

    September 17, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  13. jaymoka

    us_1776: Republicans don't work only for BILLIONAIRES – they work for MILLIONAIRES too

    September 17, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. HUH?

    So now he wants to run on "change"? But isn't that totally against Republican standards? I don't want to change back to what the world was in the 17th century...thanks but no thanks.

    September 17, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. Peace

    If at all Romney knows how to balance the budget, how come that many companies during his era at Bain Capital fall apart (were crossed)? Didn't he have such knowledge that time? Has he learnt it now????

    September 17, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  16. lance corporal

    WHAT message is there to retool?

    Obama is bad is not a msg...........

    maybe if Romney would actually put some sort of message out there in the first place

    you can only get so far on obam/dems are out to get you..........

    September 17, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  17. tiggerswoodsy

    so, this means it will all be scripted again right?
    no on the spot mind challenging questions like the reporter posed about the situation in Libya last week right?
    you know, the one question he received and he ....ahhhh, ummmm, huuuuhhh, aaaah,, eeeehhh,,,,,,ooohhhh, huuuuuhhhhh for 15 seconds before some drivel non associated answer whimpered out of his piehole?

    September 17, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. Jello

    Why doesn't he instead really do some soul searching, evaluate how to be a better person - and improve himself. He's really not very likable when you learn of his business dealings. That advise - it was for free! Thanks to Fall weather there's a skip in my step.

    September 17, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. Jack Jack

    I want a country that is respected, feared, and profitable for those who work hard.

    I need my neighbor to get a job. I want to be sure my job is still around in 6 months.

    Obama, sorry, you're not getting my vote. You had four years with UNLIMITED resources to fix this. You failed hard.

    September 17, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. NyteShayde

    That's right pjoe. Cite garbage from the Charles Koch Foundation. Nice try.

    September 17, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. gmenfan54

    Hey "Flipper"... You're a little too late.

    September 17, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. lance corporal

    Obama is bad is not a msg...........

    maybe if Romney would actually put some sort of message out there in the first place

    you can only get so far on obama/democrats are out to get you..........

    September 17, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  23. gmenfan54

    Too late "Flipper".

    September 17, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  24. Kent

    How many times are they going to do the Etch a Sketch thing?

    September 17, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. annieL

    "Combining agencies and departments" of the federal government is straight out of Jimmy Carter's presidency. He called it "a government as good as its people" and undertook major reorganization. Might have done some good, don't know. But it isn't new, that's for sure.

    September 17, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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