Romney subtracts numbers from campaign pitch
March 15th, 2012
12:45 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney subtracts numbers from campaign pitch

(CNN) – Numbers may ultimately win the Republican presidential nomination race for Mitt Romney, if he secures the most delegates, but it appears his campaign has figured talk of numbers isn't helping him get there.

The former Massachusetts governor leads the GOP delegate count after two months of voting, but is still hundreds of delegates away from the 1144 magic number needed. As the slog for delegates entered its third month in March, Romney and his surrogates have argued that victory by another candidate was mathematically improbable.

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But in appearances Wednesday and Thursday, Romney turned his focus from delegates to his credentials.

"Look, I'm perfectly pleased with the process we have," Romney said Thursday on Fox News, acknowledging that his competitors are "tough" and "capable." "But the process itself, it's working," he added.

Earlier in the week, Romney answered similar questions with a different answer.

"You know, this is all about getting delegates," he told reporters on his campaign plane after losing contests in Alabama and Mississippi. "If the polls are right, we'll pick up some delegates. That's what it's all about."

In a paper statement after those votes, he said the delegates earned through proportional allocation put him "even closer to the nomination."

Though in a technical sense, winning 1,144 delegates is what this is all about, some Republican operatives criticized Romney's math-driven argument, saying the numbers-heavy appeal was not the right message for voters.

"Note to Mitt R: please, please, please stop talking delegate counts and process!!" one veteran Republican strategist – and former Romney adviser – Mike Murphy tweeted.

"Romney guys will hammer the delegate spin now, but I think the 'choice is an illusion' message hurts him. Realty, sure. Message? No," said Murphy in another post.

Romney supporter and former Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott made a similar case, telling CNN that, "Romney needs to focus more on the consistency of a positive message. What's the number one thing people are concerned about? The economy and jobs."

Romney's advisors have advanced the mathematics logic in campaign memoranda sent to reporters, such as one from Romney political director Rich Beeson following the Alabama and Mississippi vote on Tuesday.

"Santorum and Gingrich now trail Governor Romney by margins they cannot mathematically make up," Beeson wrote on Wednesday. "In order to win, both Santorum and Gingrich need to start netting an impossible number of delegates to overtake Governor Romney."

The campaign first made the mathematical argument after the Iowa caucuses, when Romney and Santorum were separated by a mere handful of votes. The contest eventually ended in a Santorum win, but both he and Romney won an equal number of delegates.

As this played out, the campaign's pollster argued in a memo that Romney's finish was an accomplishment.

"Governor Romney squeezed past five other front-runners in the state, four of whom had significant double-digit leads," Neil Newhouse, the pollster, wrote. "All of the other candidates except for Gov. Romney and Senator Santorum lost support through this campaign, while both Romney and Santorum gained (the latter obviously gaining the most)."

"While kudos have to go to the Santorum campaign for their strong finish, observers shouldn't minimize the challenges that Gov. Romney's campaign overcame to come out on top in the Iowa Caucuses."

– CNN's Peter Hamby, Rachel Streitfeld, and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Also see:

When Romney says 'get rid of' Planned Parenthood he means…

Hatch, if reelected, wouldn't run again

Ridge endorses Romney

Poll: Santorum leads in Pennsylvania

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    I've noticed something about Mitt Romney when he tries to exhibit certain emotions. They get Doppler shifted because Romney is so distant and far removed from most of us.

    1. When he tries to be confident, it comes across as arrogance. "I have friends are NFL team owners."
    2. When he tries to be humorous, it comes across as condescending. "Hi, y'all. I ate some cheey grits."
    3. When he tries to familiar, it comes across as foreign. "10 thousand dollar bet?"
    4. When he tries to be serious, it comes across as callous. "I like to fire people who perform services for me."

    But, I must say I do find the Mitt Romney Reality Show to be quite fascinating. I hope they renew it for a second season.

    March 15, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. cisco4

    Whats the numbers for the general election.. MItt?..Still against Romenycare and Obamacare?

    March 15, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. Bill

    What Romney fails to mention is that he too, may not get enough delegates to secure the nomination. And why isn't the "process working" Mittens? Because you are having to scape and claw and spend millinos more than you planned in this campaign? What a clown. He will never be president.

    March 15, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. Thomas

    How can I vote for a non politician businessman politician who's five sons avoided military service to campaign for there fathers election !

    Al five of Mitts sons talk as hard line hawks , yet they would rather others do there fighting for them.

    I want no part of a Mormon cast system , or any religious cast system , Christian , Hindu , Muslim , or Judaism !

    These are the same people that threw Jesus to the back of the bus , only to now say he's there copilot !

    There is no 1st , 2ed or 3ed class in heaven !

    March 15, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. The Greedy Old Pigs declared class war on US!

    The funny thing is Rmoney's campaign still hasn't found a single subject he can credibly speak about, since every attempt leads to the same cesspool of gaffes, lies and pandering.

    March 15, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. NotFooledByDistractions

    All those delegates won't mean squat in the national election if voters don't know what you truly stand for and what your plans are to move this nation forward. Haven't heard anything from romney to convince me to vote for him – he hasn't had much of anything positive to say, and he doesn't appear to have any true convictions. Way too wishy washy – too Eddie Haskell.

    March 15, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. Lyn

    He's running for Adding Machine in Chief.

    March 15, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Has MItt Romney indicated or expressed how he plans to cut spending? "I will cut wasteful spending." Is that coded language that only conservatives can understand? I sure can't figure it out. Mitt Romney has an obligation to The People to at least describe how he plans cut the annual $500 billion that his tax plan will cost.

    You see, that is the game that Republicans play. They first cut taxes to "starve the beast" creating a budget crisis, then they characterize Democrats as "tax and spenders" when they object to the unfunded tax cuts. Republicans never want to first cut spending, and then consider tax cuts because it doesn't fit their narrative.

    March 15, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    "While kudos have to go to the Santorum campaign for their strong finish, observers shouldn't minimize the challenges that Gov. Romney's campaign overcame to come out on top in the Iowa Caucuses."

    March 15, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  10. RealisticPeeps

    Community organizer = high unemployment + housing market quagmire + higher taxes + government waste + out of control spending + avalanche of insane government regulations + Wall St abuses.
    Successful Business Owner = JOBS + Housing rebound + FAIR Taxation + Accountability in Government + Balanced Budget Amendment + Intelligent regulation + Wall St reforms.
    The greatest generation, our parents and grandparents, sacrificed for us, their children. The ME generation taxes and spends our children's and grandchildren's future.

    March 15, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. Peace

    Each and everything in this campaign is in a shamble.
    1. Try singing – hasn't worked
    2. Using Super PACS with mega dollars – hasn't worked
    3. Telling other candidate to get out – hasn't worked
    4. Insisting on maths – hasn't worked
    5. Now going back to message – What message?????

    March 15, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. vic , nashville ,tn

    Do the math Romney if you want to reach 1144 you have to win minimum 45% votes in rest of the contest win mean like AZ and FL
    Sill some states left in south so you want reach 1144

    March 15, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. PJ/TX

    More important than delegate numbers, are the numbers in Romney's tax bill. I've read that all of his cuts, etc.
    will explode the deficit, raise taxes on people making less than $40,000, cut capital gains taxes, eliminate
    inheritance taxes, etc. Same with Santorum and Gingrich.
    Anybody care to comment, am I reading this wrong, or what?

    March 15, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. Lolo

    A Realistic Peeps, what are you drinking.? Mitt or any of the other republican candidates do not have a clue. If you want to be truly realistic, quit telling lies and tell the truth about your Republican/tea party Clan. They are nothing but a bunch of misfits trying to keep the money in the pockets of big oil and the 1%. Everytime a republican gets in office they screw up the debt because they are so greedy and uncaring about anyone but themselves. This is why you have only clowns to pick for president. They do nothing but keep the poor down and the dummies uneducated just so that they can win their precious white house. I bet you would vote for dumb Sarah Palin if she was in the running, and this proves my point about dumbing down American because she has no brains.

    March 15, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. curious

    The numbers voters have to be concern with are the 28 straight years of deficits from Nixon to Bush. They claim America's 13 trillion debt is President Obama's fault.

    March 15, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |

    Seriously, its not his fault at all, just that he doesnt quite understand the limits. When you have a presidential candidate who stands for nothing, no core or values, only to keep repeating a talking point:
    I will cap, cut and balance the budget, and you then turn around and ask, how can you do this, he gets so furious and only answers: i will cut taxes, wasteful spending, planned parenthood, education, regulations, and so on, all of which are vital to out national development. But guess what? Mitt understands wat he is doing, only for the 1%, thats all, the 99% can kiss the ground, who cares. So please as i wrote earlier on, let Mitt be Mitt, just drop out, let Obama run unopposed, thats all.

    March 15, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. Four and The Door

    ... They are nothing but a bunch of misfits trying to keep the money in the pockets of big oil and the 1%. Everytime a republican gets in office they screw up the debt because they are so greedy and uncaring about anyone but themselves.
    You have just described Obama's record in office. Big oil and the 1% love love love him and what he has done for them. Who's doing really really well right now after Obama's policies have run their course? Hint: Don't look down Main Street.
    And talk about debt? Obama is the master. Dr. Downgrade. $16 trillion when he started below $10 just 3 years ago. What do we have to show for it? Not much more than higher interest payments to the 1% in China. They love him too.

    March 15, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. LBAM

    If you are worth 250 Million and you get speaking fees of almost $400K each year, why would you want a job that payes a measly $400K/year? People, regardless of what you are, Democrat or Reflub, these guys are in it so theycan get richer and give hand out to their friends. After all, if you are running for the presidency, and I can afford to give you $10 Million, I am definiately looking for something in return once you get in, and these are perks to make 100 times more than what I gave you. IN RObme 's case, he only connects to millionairs, and no wonder he cannot relate to the working man. Go ahead, put him in office and see what you get in return...

    March 15, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. IndependentMom

    Romney can't win, its a fact that the GOP establishment does not want to admit. Santorum, is real, Romney comes across as trying too hard. He is not a likable guy.

    PS. Romney can't buy the presidency. And Newt & Ron are spoilers staying in the race to block .......Santorum!

    Gotta love the wacky politics of the GOP!

    March 15, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |