Romney rebuts conservative criticism of his campaign trajectory
September 21st, 2012
07:50 PM ET
6 years ago

Romney rebuts conservative criticism of his campaign trajectory

(CNN) - Mitt Romney responded in an interview broadcast Friday to recent conservative criticism of his campaign's direction, saying his effort to win the presidency is on the right track.

"I've got a very effective campaign," he said in the CBS News interview. "It's doing a very good job. But not everything I say is elegant."

The remark about his word choice was in reference to secretly recorded clips of fundraiser he held last spring which were posted online this week. In his remarks at the fundraiser, Romney said 47% of the electorate views themselves as victims, are dependent upon government services, and will vote for President Barack Obama.

The Romney campaign responded aggressively, with the candidate holding a press conference hours after the comments emerged. But the comments, Romney's response to them, and his criticism of Obama over violence in the Arab world in the previous week was all fuel to a narrative advanced by some conservative thought leaders.

Peggy Noonan, whose conservative columns appear in The Wall Street Journal, this week described Romney's campaign as "incompetent," and stood by her comments in a Thursday Column. Her word choice, she said, was "only because I was being polite. I really meant 'rolling calamity.' "

And Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative publication The Weekly Standard, likened Barack Obama and Mitt Romney as "two presidential candidates who - when they thought they were speaking privately to their fellow 1 percenters - have shown contempt for fellow Americans."

In his CBS interview, Romney pushed back against charges that his 47% comment meant he was writing off nearly half of the country.

"I want to make it very clear, I want to help 100 percent of the American people," he said, echoing a new line he debuted on the campaign trail this week after the fundraiser video emerged.

Asked if he would apply his skills turning around businesses - a reputation which he and his supporters tout - Romney said his campaign "doesn't need a turnaround."

He also pushed back on recent national and battleground state polling which appears to give Obama a slight edge over Romney, either within or just outside of the sampling error for each survey.
"We've got a campaign which is tied with an incumbent president to the United States," Romney said.

- CNN's Gregory Wallace contributed to this report

Also see:

- Ryan gives House GOP a 'pep talk'

- Defending Romney, McCain cites 2008 campaign trail misspeak

- Romney to ramp up campaign schedule with bus tour

- Pawlenty takes post at Financial Services Roundtable

- Letterman: No hard feelings toward Romney

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. CBR

    Again Mr. Romney is trying to back away from his comments by saying that they could have been more elegantly expressed. Unfortunately, that is not the problem at all. The words he spoke were understood by those in attendance and those who watched the stream. The problem is Mr. Romney made an error and he could have apologized and moved forward. If he cannot take responsibility for this then how can we be sure that he would be open and honest with us on other subjects. Businessmen are not used to taking responsibility because they always have a person to blame. Presidents do not have that luxury. Perhaps if we looked at his record we would find other instances where he shifted teh blame.

    September 21, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  2. Rick in Phx

    I can honestly see why Mike Huckabee outlasted this guy in 2008. The fact that the majority of republicans can only express their hatred for President Obama, and not their liking of Mitt Romney shows republicans opinion of Mitt Romney hasn't changed much since 2008. It appears conservative hatred of Obama is all this guy has going for him.

    September 21, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  3. once upon a horse

    looking at his pitiful campaign through rose colored glasses.

    September 21, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  4. A Desperate Situation

    This is really becoming pathetic. Republicans you are becoming a world joke.

    September 21, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  5. Sorensen

    Old, lying Romney has been finished for a long time. The less intelligent people are just beginning to understand it now.

    September 21, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. Gurgyl

    This idiot is not fit to .lead this 300 million people, he will sell it to CHINA, India, true.

    September 21, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  7. Thomas

    "I've got a very effective campaign," Romney said in the CBS News interview. "It's doing a very good job. But not everything I say is elegant."


    September 21, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  8. James

    Now let's see Obama's foreign exchange application to NYU!

    September 21, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  9. 333maxwell

    "Romney rebuts conservative criticism of his campaign trajectory"

    It might be a good time to ask this candidate what newspapers HE reads.

    September 21, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  10. 2020

    " on the right track" – that sound familiar? yes, that is what McCain said in the middle of financial meltdown.

    Romney walked down the same path. On the right track. oh ya, train wreck slam to the stone wall. just watch him.

    His stupidity beyond human comprehension. May be he has been talking to his horse for too long.

    September 21, 2012 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  11. Marie MD

    Elegant,another rich word. Too bad your wife doesn't dress elegantly.

    September 21, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  12. Anna B

    What planet is this guy from? "Not everything I say is elegant"? ... but most of what you say is stupid!

    September 21, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  13. David

    Romney needs to abandon this ridiculous "My words aren't always elegant" spiel. Nobody's buying it. It isn't elegance that's missing from the last few weeks of his campaign; it's intelligence.

    September 21, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  14. mb

    He won't be able to save this sinking ship. I hope it starts sinking faster and faster. The campaign moto should be Romney the GOP clown for 2012.

    September 21, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  15. Brett

    Ha. Romney thinks he is tied with Obama. I am an independent vote up for grabs. After seeing and hearing what Romney has to offer, he has zero chance to obtain my vote. John Huntsman and Chris Chirstie have far more sincerity in my book and would have made for better GOP candidates. Although I think Obama hasn't lit up the last 4 years I think he got a brutal deck handed to him. Much rather see his policies going forward than Romney's. I know many wealthy candidates seem to lie and cheat their ways to the top, but I can't stand someone lying constantly onthe campaign trail and maintaining little or no convictions for their actual beliefs (not God...I'm talking about social policies and common sense decisions). I didn't vote for McCain (in part because I have no respect for Sarah Palin) but I considered it. The brightest man or woman in the room should be chosen as President of our great nation. I've seen enough of the GOP aristocrats who lack a great deal of intelligence and common sense. They are married to money far more than this nation. If the GOP isn't careful, they will soon be many of their supporters.

    September 21, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  16. Pete

    Romneys trajectory is that of a pilot called McCain,ask him how he flew jets,into the ground as is Romneys campaign..Romney is the Mormon leper I spoke of past,see how campaigning senators and other republicans stay clear and they mean it,his negetivity is contagious,republicans in Massachusetts and Virginia are showing dropping polls...People,especially independents are getting turned off by this insistant lying,this disgusting politics from the right has gone gutter politics but it's the only way they've known lately hasn't it!!They won't win when cool intelligent heads prevail and you know Romneys not good in debates,remember what Perry,Gingrich and Santorum did,it wasn't pretty but it did the job,Pres.Obamas a political surgeon,he'll disect him with so many facts Romney will never feel it,it'll be painless I assure ya, the president is a gentleman!!!

    September 21, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  17. Leroy

    The Romney Campaign needs to distribute bigger Etch-a-Sketches to Romney supporters....

    September 21, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  18. krehator

    The party of "moral values" no longer has any.

    September 21, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  19. judt

    somethig he says should be elagant. What a jerk

    September 22, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  20. Phil

    You know, the biggest strength of the Democratic party isn't their politics or their delivery. Or how they connect with the people. Its how they stick together! Look at Clinton, probably one of Obama's biggest advisary's with in the party yet Clinton with all his backround and his faults will get up in a heart beat and defend obama for the good of the democrats. Republicans how ever, argue, disagree and throw each other under the bus. So much division! If the Right wing would stick together, this election season would be going way better for them!

    September 22, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  21. SafeJourney

    Romney, you and Lyin Ryan are done. Do yourself and America a favor and pack it up a go home.

    September 22, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  22. ghost

    Humans are not percentage points Mitt

    September 22, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  23. PixieDust

    It's not his word choice that is the problem, rather it is what he really believes which is so disturbing.

    September 22, 2012 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  24. enuff

    Wait..wasn't he just getting to "re-tool" his campaign just a week ago?

    September 22, 2012 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  25. Omena

    Well, letterman has been in his kind of journalism as long as people can remember,his ratings has soared over the years,i even watch his show here in nigeria, he's got better and positive ratings than mitt romney(president wannabe)... Seriously,from the romney i see on cnn alot lately,i dont trust him... Foriegn affairs he sucks,internal affairs he sucks... Addressing americans he sucks, he has gone this far cuz d gop are rusty and dry,and he's wat dey were left with... Americans beware of dis negativity... Nothing good comes easy... Vote for obama

    September 22, 2012 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
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