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. manhandler1

    What does it say about a candidate that has to continually rethink his message? it means he doesn't really believe in ANY message. A little late....don't ya think? How long have you been running? And you're just retooling your message now? Advisers don't have as much import to a candidate that really knows what he wants to say and how he wants to say it. Romney doesn't know.
    .

    September 17, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. darrenhankins

    KS dropped their challenge again Obama after death threat to the challenger…Obama will be re-elected as president..Romney is down again in the polls…The court system is backing Obama against all challengers from the right and birthers movement nation wide.

    See you in 201

    September 17, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. Annie

    Being a supposedly good business man does not make a good President. Big Love has nothing more to run on than that. Besides, that is questionable with all the outsourcing of jobs he did and his comment about loving to fire people. He's a draft dodger, so doesn't have any military experience, he embarrassed us with his comments about the Olympics to our Allies, so he isn't good at foreign policy or diplomacy. He refuses to show us his taxes and that proves his dishonesty and lack of transparency. He really doesn't have a lot to work with. Turn out the lights!

    September 17, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  4. quakeranger

    I love how Romney is going with what fits at the moment based on who it is he is going to be talking to. If he were on the east coast in some upper crust upstate New York neighborhood he would be addressing the elite telling them that there is no way he'd let what he see's as serious immigration issues continue unchecked like the other side has. No, I'm stop the illegal border crossing's and secure our borders! I'd stop them because they won't! Now he is going to be in Los Angeles where he will be apealling to hispanic voters and of course now there will be no mention of immigration issues like self deportation! He will say and do anything to swing the hispanic vote in his favor. He willl tell one group "yah I'm tough I'll deport them, the other side yah you guys are cool. Your safe here. I'm here to help you! Fear not!" Say anything to anyone and frame your message so it suits them. Whata fake.

    September 17, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. Not All Docs Play Golf

    I think Romney should just keep running that video of him singing his awkward, off-key rendition of "America The Beautiful" while hiding his money in offshore accounts to avoid paying U.S. taxes. That should tell us all who the man is.

    September 17, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. Starr

    Being President requires that you be knowledgable about more than one thing, Romeny can't win on the economy alone. DUH...

    September 17, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. paul

    pjoe...sorry you jump from clinton to obama and miss George W ??? It was him and his admin that saw the biggest expansion of govt since the founding of this country,with all this homeland security legislation,illegal wire taps,intrusive powers,expansion of detainment powers,profiling and the creation of a huge number of govt departments..all devised to keep you on a watch...really you must check your memory before you blame obama.

    September 17, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Bronky

    "No problem. GW Bush was down 13 points to Gore at this time. George HW Bush was down 17 points to Dukakis!"

    The Bushes are roundly loved and respected by a huge percentage of the GOP and a solid percentage of indepenents as well. I don't think the same can be said for Romney. I am not saying Republicans don't hate Obama; it is clear they do. But it will be difficult for Romney to make up ground without the base, similarily to Kerry against GWB. In '04 Dems hated George W, but they didn't love Kerry. And that I believe will be the difference.
    Besides, Dukakis could have been up 30 points prior to getting in that tank.

    September 17, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. News Commentator

    Retool? Ha Ha Ha.

    Romney is toast. There is no point in even having an election. He's done.

    September 17, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. Matt

    Everything Mitt Romeny is trying is failing him and he is running out of options. He is desperate and his strategies are not working for him.

    September 17, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. End the two parties

    I'm voting for Gary Johnson this fall...no more blue team vs. the red team politics for me.....

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

    LMBAO...............just wait about 5min robo-Romney will "re-tool" his massage again (for the 80th time).

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

    It isn;t his message or changing, expanding or redirecting it. It is about actualy details of loopholes to be closed, revenues to be gained, job sectors to be stimulated and Replacements for Obamacare. The check's in the mail campaign isn't working and won't work because he says there's 2 checks in the mail or the mail sucks

    September 17, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. Martin

    The trouble is, that Romney's plan for the economy doesn't add up. His plans for cutting the deficit also don't add up.

    He claims he wants to reduce taxes and reduce deficit spending, but increase military spending and have no impact on the Middle Classes, but won't say how he's going to do this, other than "closing loopholes" but won't say which ones.

    Personally, if someone is trying to sell me something on the basis of "I'm not going to tell you anything about it, other than you want one, and you won't be disappointed, but I'm not going to tell you what it does", I'm not buying.

    September 17, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. z2cents

    I would imagine you would be ready with your message as soon as you decide to run for President. Did not realize you re-tool your message on the fly based on what will get you elected.

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

    The Romney campaign is going through the same internal power struggles that the McCain campaign went through. The GOP consists of too many wannabe chiefs that only want power and not the heart to serve the American people. This clearly puts them in the anti-American category. Romney is self serving and will say anything to sit his smelly behind in the Oval Office chair. I agree with the President...Romney tend to shoot first and aim later! Smart Americans clearly don't want Romney to run this country!

    September 17, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  17. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens thought that in order to win the white house, he just had to be a birther.

    September 17, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. darrenhankins

    50 day to go and you are retooling.....

    September 17, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  19. Junior

    Jack Jack says Obama had "unlimted resources" to fix the economy. Everything but a party called the GOP that purposely stood in the way with obstruction tactics on every issue to move this country forward at the expense of the country. All in the name of party politics. Now after that plus the whining they feel they have EARNED the opportunity to retake the White House? I do not think so as the GOP should be punished, not rewarded.

    September 17, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. marco rubio

    I do not trust romney.

    September 17, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  21. Fix the economy?

    What about the years 1993-1998 when Romney was the Chairman on Audit Committee of the Board for Marriott International and the scandal re: "Son of Boss" illegal tax shelter that made Marriott over $70million. This is not someone I want balancing books or "fixing" our economy!

    September 17, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  22. Linda

    I think he should pull his pants up a little higher. Gramps! What a total failure and I am loving every minute of it! HA!

    September 17, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  23. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    Palin in Pants-retool,reboot,etch a sketch again-Too late-we already know you don't believe in anything,don't stand for anything, don'[t have a plan that is not blame Obama.

    September 17, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  24. bolanite

    Romney: "you want me to say this? Ill say this. You want me to say that? Ill say that. You want me to stand here? yes? no? maybe? whatever you want Ill do it. just get me in the Whitehouse." Hes starting to sound desperate. The man has no back bone, no conviction and no plan

    September 17, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. Russ139

    Romney's going to change his message, and his campaign staff is letting us know just incase we can't tell.

    September 17, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
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