Romney campaign aims to recalibrate around economic message
September 20th, 2012
04:12 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney campaign aims to recalibrate around economic message

Washington (CNN) – In response to sagging battleground polls and criticism from some Republican party insiders, the Romney campaign – as part of its recalibration – intends to get more specific with its economic message, trying to reach out to the increasing number of voters who believe Mitt Romney doesn't understand their problems.

In interviews with senior Romney advisers and outsiders close to the campaign, the emerging strategy appears to boil down to a simple point: "We need to reassure Americans that Romney can fix things, and he (President Obama) can't," says one campaign insider. "Voters already believe Romney has a better chance of fixing the economy. We have to tell them just how it will be better for them."

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In other words, says this source, "personalize" the economic message. And also Team Romney will try to clarify it – especially in the wake of Romney's secretly recorded comments at a May fund-raiser about how 47% of the country is "dependent" on the government, describing those people as seeing themselves as "victims." On Wednesday, for instance, the GOP nominee went out of his way to tell a Univision audience that "my campaign is about the 100% in America" – the campaign's latest attempt at damage control.

According to one source, the campaign "has not ruled out" a formal domestic policy speech before the debates or the possibility of more television ads with the candidate speaking directly to the camera. It's clear the campaign understands its two key deficits: first, that Romney has all but lost his dominance on the economic management issue. And that the 3-1 disadvantage on the question of "which candidate connects well with ordinary Americans" is unsustainable if the GOP candidate is to win.

While the campaign denies Romney has been mostly MIA on the stump, officials do admit they have spent a significant amount of time fund-raising.

As Romney intensifies his campaign schedule in the coming days, senior advisers say the candidate will be back on his message of job creation. But he will also be more specific about energy (pushing for the Keystone pipeline, proposing more domestic oil production.) On health care, Romney will continue to press his case that the administration's health care overhaul will cost people more money either by seeing their premiums increase or having to pay penalties if they don't get insurance once the law takes effect.

There is a real sense – from those inside and Republicans outside the campaign- that waiting for Romney to rescue himself at the first debate, set for Oct. 3rd, is a bad idea. "The campaign is being framed between now and that debate," says one Romney adviser. Says another GOP strategist, not affiliated with the campaign, "they need to sharpen their message" and "they need to offer more details…they are losing the daily war."

In other words, says a different source close to the campaign, "there is an understanding that we have to shape our environment as much as react to it."

One problem for the Romney campaign itself is that voter optimism about the future appears to be on the upswing. In a CNN/ORC poll earlier this month, 67% percent said they thought economic conditions in the country would be good a year from now while last October 39% responded that way.

As for the mood inside the Romney campaign, sources say there's no widespread sense of gloom. "Nobody around here is hanging their heads," says one adviser. "We are determined, and think we can win this thing. There is no change in attitude."

In fact, another Romney adviser makes the case that Obama's post-convention lead of seven points has disappeared and points to the latest Gallup daily tracking poll which has the race dead even at 47%-47%.

When asked about the decline in Romney numbers in key battlegrounds like Ohio, Florida and Virginia, these aides make the case that the numbers are in flux and close enough to turn around, particularly as the candidate gets more specific about how, as one adviser puts it, "Americans will be better off for the next four years under a President Romney."

And the Romney campaign now believes it cannot wait to make that case in the first debate on October 3.

CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this story.


Filed under: 2012 • Economy • Mitt Romney
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. once upon a horse

    if Mitt Romney's messages continue not to resonate with a majority of the American people in what the GOP thought would be a very winnable election and it keeps failing after the debates, then I fully expect the Republicans to go back into their playbook and pull out what usually works for them..the FEAR CARD..the you know he's NOT one of us card. Karl Rove is very good at doing this and it plays well with the least educated and sad to say to a certain extent the most pious amongst the bunch. Watch the ads closely and you'll be able to pick up on it and they have surrogates like Donald Trump and John Sununu who would be more than happy to do it.

    September 20, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    "When asked about the decline in Romney numbers in key battlegrounds like Ohio, Florida and Virginia, these aides make the case that the numbers are in flux and close enough to turn around, particularly as the candidate gets more specific about how, as one adviser puts it, "Americans will be better off for the next four years under a President Romney."

    Hardly worth making a comment on such stupidity coming from the Romney camp. In less than 6 weeks Mitt Romney plans on doing that which he hasn't been able to do for the past 6 months? No likely.

    September 20, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "Romney campaign aims to recalibrate campaign around economic message"

    Romney campaign aims to recalibrate campaign around pretending he didn't say horribly offensive and disqualifying things about half the country.

    FIFY

    September 20, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. GOP is Dead

    @Four and The Door

    The economy is where Democrats lose the White House and The Senate. Fortunately, this is also the greatest issue with American voters. Romney/ Ryan 2012 knows how to win. We are watching them do just that
    ----------------------------------------------------
    What color is the sky in your world? Romney is falling fast in every poll. Independent voters kept waiting for his economic plan but finally realized nothing was coming. They aren't like the right-wing base – you know... stupid.

    Romney said he favors the Ryan budget plan but other than killing Medicare with a voucher system, that is little more than smoke & mirrors. He's given absolutely no specifics on how to pay for low taxes for the rich, big defense budget, and his "improved" version of healthcare. Magic? Trickle-down economics? Trying that ploy again? We see where he declared 47% of Americans unworthy of his attention – including most disabled veterans. Everytime he opens his pie-hole something stupid runs out. His running mate is now known as "Lyin' Ryan" because he is a pathological liar. It's over and only those of you who live in a delusional state could see otherwise.

    September 20, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Shake shake shake
    shake shake shake
    shake your platform
    shake your platform

    September 20, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Recalibrate, retool, shake the Etch-A-Sketch....blah blah blah.
    Somebody needs to "start the bus"for Team Romney. That's what they used to say at my kids football games when the visiting team was getting their butts whupped!
    START THE BUS!!!!
    Obama 2012

    September 20, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. SafeJourney

    Wow , how many restarts and recalibrations is that now. Romney is done. You know Romney is out of his league when the Republicans leadership and commentator are taking him to task. It is just ignorance and stupidity on Mitts part.

    September 20, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Sniffit

    Shake shake shake
    shake shake shake
    shake your platform
    shake your platform
    -------------------------------------------------
    ...You're the worst in the land and we can tell....
    Shake shake shake
    Shake shake shake
    Shake your platform
    Shake your platform
    ROFLMDominican- American AO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 20, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. Ronda in Houston,TX

    The problem with Romney is that he thinks like a CEO and not a politician. If you know any CEOs than you know that NOBODY tells them where to scratch their butts! They are not use to people telling them what to do. And that is because they think they know what they are doing. Once the election is over, Romney can start up another Bain Company somewhere over the rainbow....

    September 20, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    We learned about Rmoney the last 6 years.

    6 more weeks of a different batch of lies is only going to make a bigger loss for republicans.

    Two weeks to early voting in some states – less than 3 in others.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 20, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  11. Maxx

    Every day, time to recalibrate because the previous day's calibration was ineffective. Ever think it might be Romney?

    September 20, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  12. myviewis

    Thomas

    Sorry Trees .

    Myviewis , Salesman Vs Businessmen ?
    ---------------------------

    Yeah, right? Can you imagine a salesman is running our country and you know how salesman are, Obama would be great in the construction business. 1 year later you're still waiting for him to install the windows in your house but has beautifully convinced you that they are still in transit.

    I wish the businessman/Governor would get to be the new manager to run our country. Wow, imagine someone who knows how to create jobs. Hope it is Romney.

    September 20, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  13. Flagship, NC

    Recalibrate, retool, shake the Etch-A-Sketch....blah blah blah, what word are they going to use next week?
    Just tell us the truth about what you are going to do and show your taxes!

    September 20, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. myviewis

    Ronda in Houston,TX

    The problem with Romney is that he thinks like a CEO and not a politician
    --------------------------–

    CEOs want results, no excuses = Romney

    Politicians will think about it, will have 3 or 4 meetings, will schedule it on the calendar, will address it next time everyone is in town, will come up with 12 excuses and still won't get it done = Obama

    September 20, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. TY

    No one care what they think.........Romney has show his true colors and I dont care if he has a plan, my plan is to not vote for him.......

    September 20, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  16. rs

    Their message: "We need to reassure Americans that Romney can fix things, and he (President Obama) can't," might resonate if they could capably magane their campaign. I can only speak for myself, but "recalibrating" at 50 days to election day, and early voting already in progress simply makes it sound like Mr. Romney just wasn't ready for this campaign- nor the job.

    September 20, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
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