Team Romney: We're off with 'a bang'
April 27th, 2012
11:58 AM ET
8 years ago

Team Romney: We're off with 'a bang'

(CNN) - Mitt Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades on Friday issued his first memo analyzing the state of the race for the White House now that Romney is the presumptive nominee, in which he took aim at President Barack Obama's handling of the economy.

Fresh off the news the economy grew at a slower-than-expected rate of 2.2% in the first quarter of 2012 (from January to March, according to initial estimates from the Commerce Department), Rhoades contrasted Romney's Tuesday night speech that he said painted a "positive vision for a better America" with Obama's actions this week, which he said included "slow-jamming the news" and picking a fight over student loans.

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"The Obama campaign is like one of those gyrating, intermittent lawn sprinklers, spewing out attacks in seemingly random directions, hoping to get somebody wet somewhere but hoping even more to talk about anything but the unemployment rate, federal debt, gas prices, or rising health insurance premiums," Rhoades wrote. "In his New Hampshire remarks, Governor Romney dubbed this a campaign of 'diversions, distortions and distractions' but noted it wouldn't work. 'It's still about the economy – and we're not stupid.'"

Full memo:


Elections are about choices.

This past week previewed the stark contrast facing voters in this election. Governor Romney's speech Tuesday night in New Hampshire contained a crisp and specific critique of President Obama's policy failures and his own positive vision for a better America.

The speech left the Obama campaign sputtering – with even David Axelrod offering praise. In fifteen minutes, Governor Romney dismantled the myths of "hope and change" with the reality of a failed record that even the President and his campaign are struggling to defend.

President Obama's stagnant, government-centered economy has depressed growth and the American spirit of natural optimism. At a time when a campaign just emerging from a long primary should be struggling, Governor Romney has rapidly unified support and begun to capture the imagination of the country with his vision of a pro-growth economy that will lift us out of the Obama doldrums. It was a big speech to mark a big win that begins a big debate about big things.

President Obama, on the other hand, spent the week slow-jamming the news, striking a Heisman pose, and trying to pick a fight over student loans to help the one-in-two recent college graduates who are either jobless or underemployed as a result of his policies (which is apparently really funny stuff to the President). Unfortunately for him, Republicans agree with the need for a temporary extension, but want it paid for by cutting spending rather than raising taxes. So instead of the fight he was hoping for, he got a debate over taxes and spending – which he wasn't hoping for.

But changing a presidential schedule is not easy, so Obama pressed on anyway with "official" events to attack his political opponents in swing states with target voters 18-29 years of age that he did well with in 2008 but whose support is waning in 2012. His campaign team then announced in a hastily-arranged Wednesday night conference call that his re-election campaign would begin on May 5th (as if the President hasn't been campaigning for re-election non-stop for a year now).

In making this announcement, the Chicago crowd was consistent with what has been a remarkably flailing campaign with no discernible rationale for candidacy. We now know that only one campaign is going to run on President Obama's record of the past three-and-a-half years in office – and it's not the Obama campaign. Without the ability to run on a record of achievement, the incumbent is reduced to a campaign based on scattershot attacks on Governor Romney in particular and Republicans in general.

The Obama campaign is like one of those gyrating, intermittent lawn sprinklers, spewing out attacks in seemingly random directions, hoping to get somebody wet somewhere but hoping even more to talk about anything but the unemployment rate, federal debt, gas prices, or rising health insurance premiums.

In his New Hampshire remarks, Governor Romney dubbed this a campaign of "diversions, distortions and distractions" but noted it wouldn't work. "It's still about the economy – and we're not stupid."

The Obama campaign's calculation is understandable, given the current polling data:

* The president's job approval remains mired below 50%. (46% – Fox News Poll, April 22-24)

* Most Americans believe the country is still in a recession. (83% – Fox News Poll, April 22-24)

* People strongly think the country is moving in the wrong direction. (59% – NBC News/WSJ Poll, April 13-17)

* Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe Obama's policies have either hurt economic conditions in the country or had no impact. (63% – NBC News/WSJ Poll, April 13-17)

* Less than one-third of Americans believe that if President Obama is re-elected, economic conditions in the country will be helped. (31% – NBC News/WSJ Poll, April 13-17)

But this is not just about statistics. As Governor Romney said in New Hampshire, "Is it easier to make ends meet? Is it easier to sell your home or buy a new one? Have you saved what you needed for retirement? Are you making more in your job? Do you have a better chance to get a better job? Do you pay less at the pump?"

Voters have grown disenchanted with President Obama's policies and fear what he would do in a second term. Sensing this, the President's re-election campaign avoids defending their stimulus and health care bills and refuses to say what a second Obama-Biden term would mean in terms of the policies they'd offer. (There should be a reward for anyone who can find an agenda for Obama's second term.)

So the general election begins with a bang on one side and a whimper on the other. One side has a clear rationale for running for president, while the other has no discernible message or agenda. Governor Romney and his campaign seek to make this election about big choices affecting our future, while President Obama and his team want to make it a very small election about dogs, tax returns and his winning TV persona.

Of course, this election will be decided by adults casting ballots in their precincts, not teenagers texting votes from in front of their television sets. That apparently frightens the President and his advisors right now.


Matt Rhoades
Campaign Manager

P.S. Governor Romney has the right vision and message for America – now we need to make sure Americans hear it. Donate $5 today to help Mitt fight for a better America.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. edpeters101

    Only grew at 2.2%! that's not good! One can only wonder what the numbers would have been had the GOP opted to help the US economy, rather than road-block everything the president tries to do?

    April 27, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. livingston

    Yup, you started off with a bang alright – you are very good at shooting yourself in the foot.

    April 27, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Four and The Door wrote:

    His experience as both a governor ( MA loved him ) and a successful businessman who founded a private equity firm that has saved tens of thousands of American jobs....
    Gee, in previous article today you were claiming 100,000 jobs. Now you are down to "tens of thousands." Pretty soon you will down to the "thousands" that Mitt currently claims. Pretty soon his claim will be down to "hundreds". By Labor Day the truth will be out that he actually destroyed thousands and thousands of jobs.

    You see, people keep asking Mitt Romney for proof and examples of all of these jobs that he created. Staples? Most of the success of Staples, just like the other favorite examples you like to cite, came *after* the company was associated with Bain and/or after Mitt Romney had left Bain. Besides, Mitt Romney was not managing those companies anyway. He was just a vulture creditor.

    April 27, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. G

    To Matt Rhoades Campaign Manager:

    What a bunch of elaborate, pretentious, insincere, intellectually vacuous rhetorical nonsense.

    April 27, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  5. edpeters101

    Only a 2.2% growth! Then again that was from only half of our elected officials! What would the number have been if the GOP gave a Damn about the economy of the US, and didn't function completely with the goal of being against everything that POTUS was trying to do (even when the idea was something they believed in). Get the money and the Greedy Ba$tard$ out!

    April 27, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. weddingblogtest

    Romney the Vulture buying his way to the White house!

    April 27, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. American

    Team Romney's off with 'Ted Nugent' seems more accurate.

    Americans can see Karl Rove's projection on display again with Rhoades' doublespeak, when it is Romney constantly spouting attacks & negativity without offering solutions.

    April 27, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. Mitts new chief campaign strategist is comicai Ali

    Romneys approval rating is actually 36 percent. The rest of the Romney vote is the any republican vote.

    April 27, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. aalisa31


    Say what you want, but Romney fixes broken companies and the U.S. is broken.
    Obama= Socialism, Class warfare , high debt and broken promises

    Obama is fixing what was broken.... if you think Romey can do it faster, then you are crazy. No matter who gets in the WH, the economic recovery is still going to be slow, if not slower them changing policies... its sad how people don't use logic when thinking...I don't care who gets in there.. it will be a long time before the recovery takes affect... at least we are still not bleeding job loss.... when Obama took office... Bush had drained this country DRY.... ... Obama is water the grass and the economy is coming back .. slowly but surely... he has my vote anyday.... sign an ex republican

    April 27, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. mario

    who in the world wanrs a magic screen,like mitten,, please comon

    April 27, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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