Some Romney backers still frustrated with state of campaign
September 21st, 2012
01:06 PM ET
2 years ago

Some Romney backers still frustrated with state of campaign

Washington (CNN) - Some financial backers of Mitt Romney's campaign are still not happy with some of its messaging and execution but hope the recently announced adjustments it is enacting will help make the race more competitive.

"I wish he would continue to show who he is…I think he is holding back," one major bundler, a person who raises a large amount of money for the campaign, told CNN when asked about Romney as a candidate. "I am a little frustrated."

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Specifically, this bundler who requested anonymity in order to frankly discuss his views of the Romney campaign, said he thought the nominee should be talking more about his business background and his skills and also be more aggressive in his messaging.

This bundler who said some of his concerns are shared by other financial supporters of the campaign summarized his mood as: "worried that we are in jeopardy of losing this thing but optimistic we are still in striking distance."

The view is not shared by all of the financial backers.

"I am not concerned," major bundler John Catsimatidis, who is chairman and CEO of the Red Apple Group, a grocery store chain, told CNN. He said Romney "is a level headed guy. He knows how to create jobs."

He doesn't think the problems the campaign encountered this week will be that important and said one key for Romney is his experience. Asked about the changes implemented by the campaign he said "I think they understand what they have to do."

But for those who are frustrated one point they raise is that Romney in the last few weeks has not been more active on the stump but has been fund-raising - something that is about to change as the pace of campaigning is expected to pick up substantially, aides have promised.

"He needs to be out," said the bundler who had requested anonymity.

On conference calls with donors, Romney campaign officials this week pointed to national polls now showing the race dead even and while some polls in battleground states showed President Obama with a lead they also said they were within striking distance.

"There is an opportunity" said one financial supporter. "Definitely not too late…it is not time to write this off."

Acknowledging it may put a lot of pressure on the candidate, several supporters told CNN the upcoming debates are the key - the best opportunity for Romney to change the trajectory of the race as he goes toe to toe with the president as he challenges him on the administration's record and who has the best proposals to spur the economy going forward.

One thing several of the people told CNN they thought was essential was for the nominee to show a more aggressive stance towards the president – more direct criticism of his economic record and question the specific impact on voters if he is re-elected.

"The candidate himself has to challenge the president," said the bundler who spoke to CNN.

Senior campaign aides conducted a series of conference calls with donors this week talking about how they would adjust their message by being more specific in describing Romney's economic proposals and also worked to reassure these key supporters things were fine.

"The polls are deceiving, and we really are doing a lot better than some of the polls are saying," is how bundler John Catsimatidis summarized one message coming from Friday's call.

Any lingering concerns and frustrations of the donors and bundlers could be answered by the campaign's top insiders at a retreat next month in New York.

You can follow Kevin Bohn on Twitter @KevinBohnCNN.


Filed under: 2012 • Fundraising • Mitt Romney
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. liberal disease

    i am frustrated not with Mitt but how the liberal media lets Obama get away with his lies, deceit and overwhelming incompetence and we are all suffering now....

    September 21, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Pat

    I have a bigger problem with Obama continually lying and intentionally misleading the american people to try and save his image this past week.

    September 21, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. jillian

    Delusional.

    September 21, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  4. anchorite

    Oh he's being aggressive enough in his messaging. Apparently he spoke at a rally in Ohio at Murray Energy where the mine owner forced his employees to attend, unpaid. How's that for politically correct brainwashing?

    September 21, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. DJESQ

    As an Independent, I agree. R/R should be ahead with likely voters by a wide margin ... but perhaps the Information Age only facilitates the mundane ... and does not engage the intellect ... ... we now have 2-generations of dummies ... ... my bad

    September 21, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. JIMpnw

    Not to late, but what he has said can not be taken back because then its proof he is flip flopping.And all this "its not to late" argument looses something ............when you have to even have this conversation this late in the game.Who will have the best Oct. surprise or will the debates be the surprise.[ My guess it will be Mitts tax returns coming out and fwe will find out he is part of the 47ers he was complaining about not playing taxes......whoops]

    September 21, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  7. PJ

    "I wish he would continue to show who he is, I think he is holding back".
    ***
    He didn't 'hold back' at that other fundraising dinner. We heard him loud and clear, and that is "who he is".
    As for "challenging the President", that's all he has done for months, while keeping the "specifics" of his own
    plan secret.
    If he "challenges", he should check his past statements such as "I don't think you change Washington from the
    inside, I think you change it from the outside" – Romney-2007 from the primary against McCain. So he is
    virtually arguing with himself.
    Then we have Mrs Romney, declaring "this is hard......this is hard". Really? "Hard" is working 2 or 3 jobs to
    keep afloat, "hard" is hoping there is health care for your child, or even yourself.
    We are now getting pleas to fill the food banks for the upcoming holidays. Most of us are happy to help,
    but it is "hard" for some to admit they need the help and are embarrassed to show up.
    So, if I could paraphrase Clint Eastwood:
    "If a Party is dumb enough to elect a candidate that is so far removed from reality – they get what they get".

    September 21, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. Dionysus86

    Everyone keeps saying Romney has to be more specific, and yet he refuses to oblige, which only leads me to believe that he has no real plans of his own. He just wants to be president.

    Ego trip on another level.

    September 21, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. hillcrester

    It is healthy that wealthy backers and bundlers have switched from "we're going to win" to "there's still time." After the first debate, the rhetoric will be "where did we go wrong?" and after the second, "we picked the wrong guy."

    September 21, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. chilly g

    i am confindent the president will win and the senate will stay in the demoncrafts hands and they will retake the house
    and then the president will be able to get things done including appointing judges that been hel up by republicians.

    September 21, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. pccel

    I find it ironic that Romney is not leading in the polls; just goes to show that raising more money than Obama and getting all the Super-Pac money may not mean as much as everyone thought it would. I expect an onslaught from the GOP in ads, robocalls in the last month of the campaign. It might be better if they just hide Romeny away so he can't open his mouth; too bad he still has to debate.

    September 21, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. Gary

    Mitt has a major credibility problem...Releasing those tax returns might help.

    September 21, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    When Romney stops acting like a "Parrot" repeating every single thing Obama says, he's wasting valuable time that he needs to use to talk about himself and his policy. But no, he keeps boxing himself in with the same message, "Obama said". I don't know whose running his campaign but it appears they are a bunch of amatuers or "Parrots" themselves.

    September 21, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. myviewis

    Obama has already said it, he can't do the job, he's the one inside Washington and he says he can't do it from the inside of Washington.

    Obama wants to keep the chair of President of the U.S. and pass the buck to us to handle Washington from the outside.

    Obama is washing his hands of responsibilities, our country is falling apart, the middle east is protesting against us, our Ambassador was murdered, it was a terrorist attack and no action from Obama, he went off with Beyonce and Jay Z.

    I think those that keep supporting Obama do so because they identify with Obama' laziness and the habit of passing the buck to someone else.

    September 21, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  15. bspurloc

    "should be talking more about his business background and his skills and also be more aggressive in his messaging."
    a country is NOT a business..... it is a like a STATE. u know where GOVERNOR romney was a failure.
    he has no business background... there is no risk involved when u r in a win win vulture capitalist

    September 21, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    truth hurts – wrote:

    Of course the debates will be be THE key to the election.
    -----------------–
    HA! I thought the key to the election was supposed to have been a referendum on Pres. Obama. The debates will THE KEY for the Romney campaign. It's all that they've got left. The truth hurts, doesn't it?

    September 21, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. ccb

    The real reason why his financial backers aren't worried because they will bombard us next month with some of the most racial and racist ads in US political history. They are counting on igniting the AWM with such rage never before seen against any president. I believe the election is a lot closer than the polls indicate. The bottom line is and will be what % percent of the AWM will Obama get, the voter suppression effort and other illegal and immoral strategies the GOP-R/R ticket WILL come up with. I truly hope that I am wrong!!!

    September 21, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. Obama's America 2016

    Obama is obviously against successful people which would be the majority of this country.

    September 21, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. Skeeve

    "I wish he would continue to show who he is…I think he is holding back,"

    Oh, No!. He did show this very clearly. I don't think many people have any doubts left as who mr. Romney really is – arrogant, conceited and not particularly smart multimillioner.

    September 21, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. bspurloc

    the foxfax ignorance creates comments like this... exactly what was anyone supposed to do?
    and if that proof is fact name another embassy someone died in. ARITHMETIC failure.
    "Obama just ignoring what's happening in the middle east. Proof is the fact that Americans are dying in our embassy's because of this administrations ignorance."

    September 21, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    ""The polls are deceiving, and we really are doing a lot better than some of the polls are saying," is how bundler John Catsimatidis summarized one message coming from Friday's call."

    Translation: "Our legislative efforts to suppress Dem voters may be getting ramrodded by the courts, but we're still hoping that having control of the governorships and Sec. of state's offices in key battleground states will allow us to finegle the vorting rolls enough to eek out wins there. If we can give enough people an "oops, your name doesn't seem to be here" on November 6, then we're golden."

    September 21, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. Lionel

    Romney is toast. I always said that there was something about Romney that I don't like and I think others have seen it in that "47%" video.

    The fact is that Romney has not be out campaigning and thinks that he deserves the presidency because of what he did at Bain. Well, unfortunately, there are some things that we need to earn the old fashion way.

    Juan Percent can go back to his retirement and enjoy his millions. We need a president who represents all of the people.

    Sure, Obama has not accomplished everything but think about the economic mess he inherited and two wars. Now they are complaining that he did not clean it up fast enough.

    I am sticking with Obama,

    Obama 2012

    September 21, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Detada

    Romney is merely the least weak candidate from an incredibly pathetic field of republicans. Voters need to question why legitimate republican candidates did not get into the race. The answer speaks to the turmoil that exists within the party, hence Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. They are a joke.

    September 21, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Obama's America 2016

    Obama just ignoring what's happening in the middle east.
    ----------------------
    Really! Given a choice between a guy who wil ignore what's happening in the middle east and one that ignores what's happening here at home, the choice is clear. Go for the guy who's paying attention to what's happening at home.

    September 21, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  25. Silence Dogood

    This just in:

    The Republican Presidential Campaign Board of Directors, under intense pressure to resolve hemorrhaging voters, has decided to release their CEO, Mitt Romney. It is unclear what Mr. Romney has received in a severance package but it is said to be worth millions. Mr. Romney has placed blame of his removal on external market forces beyond his control. It is believed the RPC BoD is courting the country of China to be it's new CEO.

    September 21, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
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