Romney supporter in Arizona urges course correction
February 21st, 2012
06:54 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney supporter in Arizona urges course correction

Phoenix (CNN) - Randy Pullen, a former chairman of the Arizona Republican Party and a prominent supporter of Mitt Romney in the state, said Tuesday his candidate must intensify his efforts to win over conservatives at the grassroots level or risk losing the GOP nomination fight.

Pullen told CNN that Arizona is dangerously close to slipping out of Romney's reach, though he still predicted a victory here for the former Massachusetts governor in next Tuesday's primary.

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"He is certainly not ahead by 20 points like he was a few weeks ago after Florida," Pullen said. "On election day, I think Rick Santorum is going to win. But I think early balloting is going to Mitt. I think enough votes have already been cast."

After watching Santorum address a mid-day luncheon sponsored by the Maricopa County Republican Party, Pullen said he admired the Pennsylvanian's easy rapport with conservative activists and wished Romney had similar instincts.

"They really like the guy," Pullen said of Santorum. "You saw the speech today. It comes from the heart. Santorum connects with people. Unfortunately, my guy has a hard time doing that."

Romney needs to spend more time "connecting with the people on the grassroots level," he said.

"He has all the right endorsements," Pullen said of Romney. "He is getting money from all the right people. So he has done all that. But they somehow forgot that these people are the ones that vote. Their strategy has been to play one candidate off another, but it never really got them to a majority."

"My guy needs to come out and connect with the people and just lay it out there," he added. "Mitt gets too concerned about what he is saying and how he is saying it as opposed to connecting with people. I know he can do it, he just has to make the effort."

Pullen said that a Romney loss in Michigan, which votes on Tuesday along with Arizona, would be a "devastating" defeat.

"That would be very difficult to explain, how you lose your home state," Pullen said, though he claimed a loss in Michigan could be offset by a win in Arizona.

Also see:

Paul ad slams Santorum

Obama campaign takes a swing at Santorum

Gingrich describes Obama as a national security risk

Franklin Graham questions Obama, Romney on Christian Faith

Filed under: 2012 • Arizona • Mitt Romney
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    That's all anyone needs to know.

    February 22, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  2. Charlie from the North

    If liked what Mitt Romney was saying and what he wants to do I could ignore his lack of personality. I might even argue that his lack of connection with the voters could be a good thing because it will allow him to "make the tough decisions". But I know where Romney wants to take this country. It ain't pretty, and believe me when I say his lack of warmth is the least of my problems with this guy

    February 22, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  3. v_mag

    Rom-money has already tilted so far right that his stance defies gravity. In the general election, gravity will again assume control, as he falls flat on his face.

    February 22, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  4. Get real

    Course correction? Too late, should have changed course before RomneyCare.

    February 22, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  5. Aztec Phil

    For this debate, why doesn't CNN get a moderator who will be more in the spirt of the GOP debates so far: Jerry Springer? Only Springer can host the vitriolic lunacy these debates engender. "Host" by the way, is a much more accurate term than "moderate", because, if anything, no one other than the host makes any attempt to be moderate in any way. They actually hold the word "moderate in contempt, preferring to wratchet up the hyperbole and extremism at every chance possible.

    February 22, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  6. Surfer George

    As long as the election cycle is and as often as he'll have to "prove" his conservative credentials, by the time he gets to the general election and starts running in the other direction, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE in the Thinking Class will give him a second thought and Obama will only have to keep telling the SAME lies which will make him look all the more credible.

    February 22, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  7. Robert - Atlanta

    Sounds like every republican in the country! “all the right endorsements” – Wall Street, Oil Companies – “getting money from all the right people” – Idle Rich, Mega-corporations – But forgot the people. The GOP also forgot how they are going to appeal to the non-insane voters come November!

    February 22, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  8. MNTaxpayer

    He is who he is. Putting on a phony(er) front to 'try to connect with the people' will not work. He's beeen campaining long enough, people have decided who and what he is. Face facts, he's just a weak candidate.

    February 22, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  9. GI Joe.

    Watch him walk in his Mom jeans. He takes little bitty girly steps – not the walk of a masculine male.

    February 22, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  10. asdf

    I love these stories. First Palin said it, now some other guy – he should be "trying harder to win conservatives"....what does that mean? lying more? censoring history? Maybe they want him to stop saying anything except GOP buzzwords. I can see him at the debate now..."Jesus. Abortion. Flag. Guns. Freedom. Radical Islam. Job creators. Thank you."

    ...Come to think of it that would probably help him in the polls.

    February 22, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  11. anyone but obama

    Romney looks good right now but i agree he may haave to step it up to win this thing. the road runner would be a better choice then Obama...

    February 22, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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