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. Lyndon

    Romneys problem isnt he cant figure out that he cant fake authencisity

    September 17, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. NoTeaForMe

    The GOP is so out of touch with real Americans that it wouldn't know one if it stepped on it. Then again, they've been stepping on us for years...

    September 17, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. LithiumZero

    @ pjoe.... the CATO Institute is a think tank founded by the Koch Brothers to spread their propaganda for their own benefit. The Koch brothers have nobody's interests in mind but their own. They are thieves and liars. Their businesses have been some of the biggest polluters of the environment. They were caught stealing oil from a Native American reserve and the list goes on and on. They can take that manufactured study (propaganda) and cram it.

    September 17, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. yogi

    You cannot simply buy and lie your way to a presidency. You cannot be a spineless person who will say anything to get elected. The presidency of the United States is not a business and the experience you might have in whatever business amounts to zero qualification, especially the kind of business Romney has been involved with. Bain Capital goes around with a template and applies that to very business they have set their eyes on. In that business people are completely irrelevant, jobs as well, and all that matters is the more profit the better.
    How in this complex world do you think that business is the foundation of the presidency?
    The presidency requires a very strong backbone, a sharp intelligence (Sorry mr. Bush, you didn't qualify either and see where that took us..) vision, diplomacy, dignity, charisma, unwavering principles.
    So, nice try Mr. Romney, thank you but no thank you and thank God you will not be in the White House the next four years.

    September 17, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. IAINTNODUMMY

    I guess he has figured out he can't win with 1% of the vote and the fringe crazies who buy this crap or think "anything is better than Obama" are not going to win it for him, The other 98% are not buying his lies so I guess he is going to come up with some better lies (re-tool) his message, to try and trick a few more of us. We have all seen how strong his is on foreign policy so he is backing away from that and shifting back to the economy... His campaign is imploding.

    September 17, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  6. anoel2005

    As hard as the left wing radical media machine will try to slander Romney and get Obama elected AGAIN ........the American ppl are savy enough to realize the effects on families of this depressing Obama economy.

    We won't fall for the media lies AGAIN.

    September 17, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    A month and some days to go before the election and this tool is still "retooling".
    This walking toolshed is what's going to face the President in a debate shortly. Is it any wonder that he's been busy "projecting" his own propensity for lying onto President Obama? He can't even decide what he's for or against.
    Obama 2012. Seriously America.

    September 17, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. Poetry Critic

    T'sah From Virginia

    ►"Gotta balance the budget. You gotta cut the deficit,"
    But Romney said this umpteen times in the past – we already heard this s*
    In reality, when he veered off this message we got a glimpse of what else is up his sleeves
    And that is what completely DESTROYED him and now whatever he says NO ONE believes!!
    -------
    Pretty horrible poetry. No real meter to it. Why don't you try some simple iambic pentameter?

    September 17, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. Martin

    4moreyears wrote "You had four years with UNLIMITED resources to fix this. You failed hard."

    What the? Unlimited resources? With a massive budget deficit and Republicans fighting him at every turn, at least since 2010.

    Republicans have fought back to work legislation, bailout legislation, have criticized the Fed just this week for QE3 which is aimed directly at making loans easier to obtain for the Middle Classes, and have no solid plans for how they will be clearing the deficit.

    And you think this is the answer?

    September 17, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. Smutt Conmey

    Mitt's problem is that he's so out of touch with how the majority of the country lives their day to day lives, he thinks whatever is in his own best interest is also in the best interest of the nation. Doesn't matter what topic he's speaking on, that's always going to come through.

    September 17, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. dee

    Good idea Mittens...Keep It Simple 'cause when you deviate from the "are you better now than you were 4 years ago" line you look like a fool. Goes to the UK and looks stupid by criticizing their handling of the Olympics, goes to Israel and denigrates the Palestinians. Last week he politicized the killing of the US Ambassador to Libya. Better watch out Mittens, people are starting to realize just how inept you really are...just 'cause you're rich doesn't mean you have a brain

    September 17, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Mitt Romney: I know how to balance budgets. We balance our budget in my business, in the Olympics and every year in my state. First of all, your business Bain Capital didn't benefit me, the people of Massachusettes or the American people whatsoever Secondly, don't tell me about Olympic budgets because my future and the future of the American people ain't no sport. Third, you may have balanced the budget in Massaachussetss but your state still ranked 47th in job growth. Fourth, how are you going to create 12 million jobs in your first term if you plan on combining agencies and departments and laying off tens of thousands of American workers? And as far as Latino voters are concerned, I understand that you are going to try to appeal to them by suspending your "self-deportation" rhetoric." Well, can anyone say etch-a-sketck?

    Obama/Biden 2012!

    September 17, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. fekt

    Romney advisor: "Mitt, we've just gotten in the latest polls. We need you to sway with the wind in this direction." Mittens"Has anyone seen my Etch A Sketch?"

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

    Mitt balanced the budget at the Olympics by borrowing over a trillion dollars from the US. government. If he was in charge now he would slash events and charge the players a huge fee.

    September 17, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. kite005

    Obvious sign that he doesn't have conviction of hie ideals but is looking what gives the best results among voters.

    September 17, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  16. Armyvet129

    What a complete lie the title of this article is. Rasmussen has Romney up by 2 points. The rest of that poll is interesting too. CNN, if you posted just one title to an article on your web site that was actually positive about Romney I might actually read what you write. All of your titles ask a question and infer the answer without actually saying anything. Cheap shots. Take a stand and be honest, just leave Republican commentary out all together and go Obama cheerleader all the time. We would at least know where you stand. There's nothing worse in my opinion that a sneaky pretender, even though even your pretension is thinly veiled.

    September 17, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  17. cleareye1

    "Refocusing?" He'll have to do more than that to get past the watchful eyes of America. He has still not been honest about his personal taxes, or whose taxes will be going up and how much in his unfocused plan.
    Blundering about in foreign affairs does not count as "refocusing."

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

    Its ok for the Romney team to have their stressful moments. They have been attacked all through the primaries by all the candidates and the news media and it will continue until the election. Hang in their Romney team, you have a great platform, just get the information to the voters!

    September 17, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  19. Phi Thomas

    "The Romney campaign has a messaging problem because it has a policy problem," Frum tweeted.
    -------------------------------------------------–
    This applies to the entire RNC in my opinion. They took some one like my self a solid independent and turned him squarely into a democrat at least for this election cycle. I'm sorry but I'm better than Obama with out giving any specifics is not any platform an the fact that he has super pac money coming in 2 to 1, a 24/7 news channel like fox distorting the news and he is still getting his rear end spanked says all you need to know. America won't fall for what you are selling Mitt, we wont let Millionaires buy a president

    September 17, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. Romney 1040 or Obama 2012.

    Of course R'money will "re-tool" his campaign.

    That's what an Etch-a-Sketch leader does.

    September 17, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  21. John Mann

    This story's lead-in: "Romney to retool..."

    Um, that about sums up why he will never be president. No tools allowed.

    September 17, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. Rick 7809

    Sniffit – I agree with the IRA loopholes that Mittens took advantage of would look bad for his party, but the reason I think he will not release his tax returns is not how much he paid, but how much Bain paid him to mortgage and shut down companies. My guess is he "earned" well above $100 million while "running" that company and he doesn't want the public to find that out.

    September 17, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. George Zipp 1980

    Bill Clinton reminded America that Republicans have created 28 million jobs over the last 50 or so years, and the Democrats have created 44 million jobs. Since WHEN did republicans CREATE jobs? Like Romney himself has done, Republicans ELIMINATE jobs. For God's sake, WAKE UP AMERICA.

    September 17, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  24. Mitt FTW!

    Obama is not a leader! He has done nothing but let illegal immigrants stay in our country for free and leach off our taxes. Yea real smart! Also, I would like to see Obama's birth certificate. Doubt he even has a valid one! Oh and he has cut millitary spending, he is about to ruin Social Security and Medicare with his new unplanned and completely ridiculous Obamacare junk... You GOT to be kidding me! Time for Obama bin laden to go so we can get our country back in the right direction and have a real American in office!

    ROMNEY 2012!

    September 17, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. Steve

    Just shake the Etch-A-Sketch one more time!

    September 17, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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