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. pn

    Maybe Mitt doesn't hate gay people or believe that Genesis is a science textbook. Tough luck with the grassroots.

    February 21, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  2. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Teatards crack me up. They have absolutely no sense of how abjectly stupid they are, and no shame or hesitation to show it off to the rest of us.

    How could any [R], but no less an actually supporter of Romney, ask that Romney change course? Romney"s whole bid has already been NOTHING BUT a continual change of course. If this poor witless freak from AZ, Pullen, doesn't like the direction Romney is heading, just wait a day, or a week, or maybe at most a month, and Romney will swing around to suit him. The real story here is how utterly vapid [R]'s are not to realize it....well, no, that's not really news either, is it!

    February 21, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  3. west

    you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear my grandma always said. you can't make mitt look comfortabel in his mom jeans He out of touch with most Americans and it shows each time he speaks.

    February 21, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. Larry L

    Romney is faced with a problem. Conservatives in Arizona will like the radical right-wing version of conservatism so favored by the Tea Party and the angry, fearful, evangelical bigots on the fringe. It appears the "fringe" is the only part of the Republican Party still excited about any of the candidates so to win a primary in a really "red" state Romney will need to be as crazy as Santorum. He's a flip-flopper so being crazy isn't tough – except when he faces President Obama in the general election the moderates and independents won't fall for the Fox News sound bites and he'll get pounded. Tough choice!

    February 21, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  5. TelltheTruth

    Romney hasn't a clue how the average American lives. He will never be able to connect to the crowd he's courting for votes. It
    is so sad they cannot see through this plastic man. He's not cocern about the poor people that will cast their vote for him, you see, to Romney they are all "poor". It's alll relative. He is wrong for America's Joe 12-pack.

    February 21, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  6. sick of republican phonies

    Mitt Romney! That name brings back memories! Remember back when he tried to convince everyone he was the anointed republican candidate, and actually thought he had a chance to become president? Those were the days!

    February 21, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  7. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    He has to win over conservatives... Conservatives are the Cancer that is killing our country!

    February 21, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  8. T'sah from Virginia

    ►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.◄

    Then what is the problem if he is going to win AZ? Jeez!

    Obama 2012 – The person that would win AZ in the end!!

    February 21, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  9. Chuk

    Romney is a moron. He thinks by collecting endorsements as if he's collecting stamps. Maybe he thinks he can just impress voters to win. The man is so misguided, he thinks a handful of high profile endorsements and everybody will be so impressed the votes will roll in. False! Unless he can learn to speak the language of real people, his election is doomed.

    February 21, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  10. GI Joe.

    Translation -- get more radical man. Take away women's rights, hell, make them have babies like the mormons do. Force them to get pregnant every year

    February 21, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  11. BCasero

    Mitt, if you want to win the Republican Primary you have to prove your are really, really, really, stupid. Ordinary stupid won't do in 2012.

    February 21, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  12. Mark

    If Romney wants to win, he needs to change course alright, but not to the right. He should go left to the middle, the place where everyone is and, the place where people are sensible and understand Reason. That's not conservatism, where that religion circumvents reason with a belief that has a lot of holes in it. All that being said, I don't think any Republican can win because smart people who could run know that " Republican" is a dirty word right now, marred by obstructionism, Norquist "no tax increase" pledge, and an almost treasonous abandonment of the 99%.

    February 21, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  13. smc

    The course correction Romney needs to make is to remind any sane Republicans that if they don't get out and vote in the primaries, some nut like Santorum is going to get crushed in the general election.

    February 21, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  14. Mike S.

    Yes Mitt! You need to pretend you're a right wing whack job ultra conservative bigoted thumper if you want to appeal to the GOP base.

    February 21, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  15. Can we move on?

    These conservatives are so self focused they don't even realize how stupid they look to the majority of Americans. This guy says that Romney needs to focus on "grass roots conservatives". If he does, he will lose the national election. The majority of Americans are NOT conservative reactionary self-proclaimed hard-core Christians. Yes, the majority of Americans are Christian, but not far-right conservatives like Sanctorum and his bunch. Republicans have a very hard problem here. if they follow the call of the hyper-conservatives, they will win the election for Obama. If they do not follow hyper-conservatives and adopt a more centrist approach, they will alienate hyper-conservatives. But they shouldn't worry too much. The hyper-conservatives will vote for anyone other than Obama. If Romney does not pander to the far right, they'll vote for him anyway. If anyone with brains would pay attention here, they would realize that the far right is so far right that even other conservatives think they're weird. These people need to wake up and realize that Romney is the only chance they have of bumping Obama from office. Santorum will get stomped in a national election worse than McCain did.

    February 21, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Too late. Romney is just being Romney. Can't save himself. Never could. He'll end this ride like a bad surfer, face in the sand.

    February 21, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  17. Freddy Boen

    There is nothing wrong with Santorum saying that Obama is not a Christian, because he isn't. No muslum is a Christian and the sooner we learn that the better off we will be.

    February 21, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  18. Randy, San Francisco

    Changing course shouldn't be a problem for the master of the Flip Flop.

    February 21, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  19. Elliot

    The problem with Romney is one word: "integritiy." People do not know if the views he espouses today will be the views he will espouse a year from now or even sooner.

    February 21, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  20. Nothing new here

    1. Romney is experiencing some setback, very true. But there are still many states that have yet to hold their primaries. And the GOP convention is not until later this summer. This Republican vetting process has a long way to go, and there are still many factors to be determined, like choosing a candidate that will truly be electable.
    2. There is too much talk about "religion", not enough on the economy, taxes, and other important issues.
    3. A third-party candidate could still be a possibility, and many voters are open to voting for an Independent.
    4. Being "personable" will only take a politician so far. It will take more than "connecting with people" to be an effective leader.

    As much as I dislike Romney, I don't think he is out for the count as of yet.

    February 21, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  21. j_doe

    This is not a personality contest. Why do these people feel they have to "connect" with the candidate. Vote for the guy that has a proven record of getting things done. Mitt Romney WILL get done what he says he will.

    February 21, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  22. Reggie from LA

    So Romney should go around fomenting (even more so than already) a bunch of nonsense about President Obama? He should pander to marginal thinkers even though he would look ridiculous trying to sell himself as being aligned with the common man? He doesn't even know who that is except from a distance. He doesn't even give a second thought (by his own words) to firing someone? You know, a person. So he should chum a trail of red meat like Santorum is doing? Face the truth. The GOP doesn't really want either of them, but the rest of us should? What a scam in broad daylight.

    February 21, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  23. Martin Walters Seattle

    Too late for Romney to change course. You may pull it off in Arizona but don't expect a warm Family Home Evening in Michigan Mitt, you threw them under the bus!

    February 21, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    Like Grover Norquist said recently at CPAC, “Pick a Republican, with enough working digits, to handle a pen, to become president of the United States. Our House and Senate do all the work, and the all the president has to do is sign it”.

    The majority of Republicans don't like Mittens (Mormon flip-flopper, that he is), but the GOP hierarchy knows none of their other candidates have a snowball's chance in Hades in the general election. The solution? Convince Republicans to hold their noses and vote for Mittens. After all, Mittens won't be in charge – that'll be left up to Grover, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh, all bankrolled by the likes of the Koch brothers.

    You remember that gang? They gave us the economic, military and foreign policies that nearly drove our country off a cliff.

    The GOP is certainly one pathetic group of people ...

    February 21, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  25. mike

    what change again..what a surprise!

    February 21, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
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