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. Lisa P

    Clearly the message should be "I win, you lose." But points to whoever wrote the actual message for the endearing use of the vernacular, and the reminder that for Romney to say anything as everyday normal as "gotta" it had to be spelled out in his script!

    September 17, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    The US Debt is now at $16.03 TRILLION dollars. If that stupid video causes a war–even if it is only as a bully stick by the radical Muslims– we are going down in flames, we have no money to fight a war – we don't even have money to pay the bills.

    September 17, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Captain Obvious

    Romney's campaign strategy: throw poo on the wall and see what sticks. Here's a novel idea. Try telling the truth for once, rather than what you think people want to hear.

    September 17, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. WeDon'tMatter

    A tool retooling itself, think I saw that in a movie. I'm sure I will remember which one, give me a minute, I'll be back.

    September 17, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. Dan586

    Doe's Mitt Realize that if you are President you can run from issues you don't want to discuss.

    September 17, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. Jez

    Will Romney ever get his two feet out of his mouth? He is a complete idiot! He back-slides more than Michael Jackson ever did!

    September 17, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. lance corporal

    Obama is not a real american 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 the pres and his party are out to get you..........

    September 17, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. Realist

    Releasing the tax returns would be a great start.

    September 17, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. Ferathka

    I truly feel Romney will not win. My fear is that he actually has a chance. This man will destroy any progress we have made and try to restore the failed policies that put us in this mess.

    September 17, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Brian

    Mitt Romney: taking us back to 2008, I can't wait to hear how that's supposed to work this time

    September 17, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. Mark

    This is the guy who said "if you want to start a business, you can borrow $20,000 from your parents" This man has no touch on reality, no international experience, and says the same old tired rhetoric like "We'll change things.." but has given no details on how? How about this – Republicans, why don't you try working with Obama instead of fighting every change to better this nation

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

    What would repeal of "Obamacare" mean?

    - Cheaper drugs for seniors in the doughnut hole – REPEALED!

    - Coverage for children with pre-existing conditions – REPEALED!

    - Free access to preventive services – REPEALED!

    - Women won't pay more than men – REPEALED!

    - No lifetime cap on coverage – REPEALED!

    - Protection from insurance company abuses – REPEALED!

    - Being a woman won't be a pre-existing condition – REPEALED!

    We cannot afford to go backwards. I'll voting straight Democrat if I have to!!!FOX THIS IS NO JOKE

    September 17, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. lance corporal

    Obama is not a real american is not a message

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

    you can only get so far on the pres and his party are out to get you

    September 17, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  14. RomneyLOL

    It's so cute how some people think Romney actually has a chance.

    September 17, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. Charley Deisla

    He OWNED the House and Senate for the first two years and pushed through a 'stimulus bill" for non existent shovel ready jobs piling on massive debt. He has adopted policies that make it harder and more expensive for employers to hire people. He has relentlessly pushed for higher taxes, higher energy costs, compulsory unionism and, of course, Obamacare. The uncertainty with regard to future tax rates and the cost of future employment keeps $$$ on the side lines. In the meantime, gasoline prices hovering at $4 per gallon, the cost of home heating oil and food prices are excluded from the CPI ignoring yet another tax on the economy; INFLATION.

    In 4 years when gas is at $6 a gallon, unemployment is at 11% and the national debt is at 20 trillion, will it still be Bush's fault?

    September 17, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  16. SS

    Pretty soon Romney is going to be doing the whole "look I'm not the perfect candidate who'll always say the right thing" schtick hoping that will excuse his idiocy. He's not getting elected.

    September 17, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  17. Facts R Facts

    Romney message: "I will return the USA to the same tax cut and deregulation GOP policies we had under Bush! Obama wants to return us to the Democrat's Clinton-era policies. I think you know which policies were complete failures."

    September 17, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. Mittens Rmoney

    Please vote for me! I love the middle class! Some of my best friends are NASCAR owners!

    September 17, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. PJ

    How many times is he going to pull out that Etch a Sketch?? We can't believe a word he says. And, I don't want to lose my Medicare.

    September 17, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. Ronald

    Can retool flip flopping!

    September 17, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. John

    Unemployment over 8% for almost 4 years, 16 Trillion in debt, total housing meltdown, under 2 % economic growth, almost 50% of the nation on some type of government welfare, and a total failure of our foreign policy in the middle east. All I can say is if this president wins re-election, we must be the dumbest folks on the face of the earth. Who knew?

    September 17, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. Mark

    If you balanced the budget every year in your state Mr Romney then it was through compromising with the Democrats which is something neither you nor your Tea Party have shown any interest n doing for the last four years.

    September 17, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. Mark

    Viewers and readers need to know that the CRS has indicated that reducing taxes, like we have under G. Bush, did not make for more jobs or help the economy. All it did was triple the wage gap between the middle class and the rich. Tax Cuts do not work as Republicans continue to tell us. They have no facts that repute the CRS.

    September 17, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  24. Max

    Give it up!!!

    It's becoming clearer and clearer that Romney is simply NOT ready for the president's office. He is too divisive, too controversial, too confused, and too 'double mouth'. He is not yet convinced about how and where he wants to lead this country. He is blown about by every wind of doctrine and too easily swayed by the news of the day.

    It is becoming clearer and clearer that it's just time for him to 'Give it up', the race is no longer winnable. The disparities within his campaign will continue to take their toll on him, and he will soon realize that he is 'NOT-IN-IT-TO-WIN-IT' Period.

    September 17, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  25. spike

    Is this considered a flip, or is it a flop? I've lost track.

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