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. USwatcher

    Romney has more than just a messaging and policy problem...Romney is just wrong for America.

    September 17, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. Pam from Iowa

    "Open mouth. Insert foot."
    How about saying something truthful for a change too!
    Everyone knows that there are NO cuts to Medicare under Obamacare – unless you are an insurance company who has been making millions as the middle man for Medicare!

    September 17, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. jnpa

    Even refocusing on the economy, it's a lost cause for Romney. The only time he opens his mouth is to change his feet!

    September 17, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. majdwj

    IF Romney wants to be taken seriously on the economy he needs to release more than 1.5 yrs of tax returns!! What is he hiding?

    September 17, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. JohnRJohnson

    "I know how to balance budgets!" You bet he does. By laying off American workers and sending the jobs and equipment to China.

    September 17, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. darrenhankins

    A vote for me is a Vote for the Mormon beliefs and policies.

    September 17, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    myview – You are back! Thanks for sharing your European take on American publications. Remember, if Mittens is elected, you may have to self deport.

    September 17, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. J

    Push D for all Votes? come on us_1776 that just tells us you dont pay enough attention to know anything.

    September 17, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  9. MITTENS is DONE

    Mitt Romney appears to be the dumbest smart person in the room. Typical MBA holder. Sad day when you make Sarah palin look more competent.

    September 17, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. Nsikan

    May we not carry our hats in our hands. No way, no how, no Romney.

    September 17, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. z2cents

    Are they starting the GOP nomination all over again..nice!!!..it is good TV

    September 17, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. sammy zoso

    Romney got the biggest federal subsidy ever for the Salt Lake City Olympics. He's full of it and a double talker.

    September 17, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. mgw

    Anyone else think that the idea of the message needing to be "re-tooled" screams that the message is not something the barer actually believes in? Hmm, well when I said this opinion it didn't make people happy, why don't I try another one and see if people will like me then! It's not an issue of changing one's mind or "flip-flopping" (which I think can happen when people give critical thought to an issue). It's an issue of not really saying something you believe, are passionate about, and says something about how you will govern the country, and instead just saying whatever you think will get you the best numbers in the polls.

    September 17, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. John

    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."

    Are you serious???? Respected? Some know head puts out a cheap video that inflames the world, and you think Obama is responsible? Get real.
    Want your neighbor to get a job and yours to last? Then by all means, vote for the guy whose business activities resulted on jobs lost or shipped overseas. Makes perfect sense to me, if you're brain dead.
    Unlimited resources? How about a republican party whose vocabulary seems limited to one word...NO.
    Good luck with that vote Jack, because if you place it for Romney, your wishes will be nothing more than pipe dreams.

    September 17, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. IhateBurkas

    Appropriate for him to "retool," since he is one.

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

    Retool= shake the etch a sketch!

    September 17, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. 4MoreYears

    BUSH HAD 8 YEARS TO DESTROY IT, AND WE WILL GIVE OBAMA 8 YEARS TO FIX IT.

    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 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. Cindy

    Mr. "I stand for nothing" but just vote for me, I will think of something later." isn't working. Mr. Romney must have an ego of magnificant proportions to think that would work.

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

    Listening to all the conservatives and libertarians on here talk about how Obama increased government and the budget is amusing. Bush massively ballooned government by creating DHS without putting FBI and CIA into it and increased the deficit $1.5 trillion with his tax cuts, not even counting the war spending. When the right talks about small government and lower taxes, their only goal is to stay rich and funnel taxpayer money to corporations. They don't care about Americans fighting poverty, jobs, national defense, or anything else.

    September 17, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  20. hcx

    This new direction of Romney's will change again when the newest distraction comes up and his handlers trip all over themselves...again. His campaign reminds me of a clown car side show.

    September 17, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. Dennis

    Yes, gwb was behind 13 pts to Gore and Ghwb was down 17 to Dukakis at the time. Four good people, but no presidential material in any of them. All mediocre choices, just like now and the last time.

    September 17, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  22. De Odorizer

    Retools campaign message = = waffling.

    Hey guys, let's try this message this week. We can always retool if it doesn't work.
    I have a feeling, he would run the country just the same. try this, try that, sell out here, sell out there... It's the Romney Way.

    September 17, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  23. E Asa

    Matt L, you are only citing examples of these "comeback" victories. How about races that went the way the polls predicted ??? Actually Sonny Bush stole the presidency from Gore.

    September 17, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. S.R.

    Oh Mittens, what an idiot. How many times has he put his foot in his mouth and he is still campaigning. What will happen if he wins the election? The rich will get richer, the middle and poor will be combined, all our foreign adversaries will turn their backs on us and everybody in the U.S will be required to wear magic Mormon under wear!!!

    September 17, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  25. Randi516

    The US debt is now at $16.03 TRILLION dollars! If the Muslims use that vengeful video to start a war, the US will go into a depression. We have no money to pay what we owe, if we go to war, something is not going to be paid. Our two biggest debts–Medicare and Social Security– may not survive. Oh, darn, I forgot, we are printing up more money - all LOOKS good. That $17 TRILLION figure is advancing rapidly! We need accountability and responsibility now!

    September 17, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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