Romney campaign re-tools message for final stretch
September 17th, 2012
10:14 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney campaign re-tools message for final stretch

Washington (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is launching a new effort this week to inject energy and fresh policy details into a campaign that Republicans have criticized as listless and light on substance.

Romney will deliver a series of high profile speeches in the coming weeks, including one at the Clinton Global Initiative next week in New York City, to flesh out more specifics on what, exactly, Romney would do differently from President Obama if he captures the White House in November.

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His first such speech will be Monday afternoon at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles. The campaign said he plans to speak in greater detail about what sort of immigration plan he would implement as president.

The Romney campaign is also launching a new series of television ads Monday addressing Romney's "Plan For A Stronger Middle Class" that mark a departure from the gauzy but light-on-specifics ads the campaign ran in swing states after the GOP convention.

One ad, "The Romney Plan," shows Romney speaking in broad strokes about trade policy, a balanced budget and taxes.

A Romney campaign official acknowledged to CNN that Romney has not done enough to give voters a sense of what he would do if elected.

"Polling shows that voters recognize that Gov. Romney has a plan, but they want more details," said the official, who was granted anonymity to discuss internal campaign strategy. "Voters feel like they want to know more. It's not only true of Gov. Romney but also President Obama."

Romney has two major speeches being drafted for next week: One, at the Clinton Global Initiative, will illuminate fresh elements of Romney's foreign policy vision. Another, at NBC's "Education Nation" summit, will, naturally, focus on education policy.

Romney's running mate Paul Ryan will also take a more aggressive posture on the campaign trail, a source said. Ryan spent the latter part of last week sharply criticizing Obama on a range of issues, from the economy to his handling of the protests in the Middle East to his position on abortion.

That offensive will continue, explained the source, who said Ryan will be "message-focused" on the stump.

The new focus on policy detail comes amid reports of campaign infighting, with chief strategist Stuart Stevens bearing the brunt of the blame for a Republican convention that failed to deliver any serious momentum for Romney.

Campaign sources refused to characterize the new substance offensive as a strategy shift in the face of stagnant poll numbers, even though Republicans in Washington and elsewhere have said privately since the Democratic National Convention that Romney needs to shake up his message if he wants to win.

The Romney official said the latest campaign tweaks are routine at this stage in the race.

"We have got 50 days left and voters are starting to pay attention," the source said. "This is the time for us to clearly communicate what Gov. Romney will do to distinguish himself from President Obama."

Another Romney adviser embraced the challenge of being an underdog and said incumbents typically lead their challengers until the closing days of a campaign.

The adviser said the campaign made a calculated gamble to lay low during the Democratic Convention, even if it allowed President Obama to dominate that week's news cycle and secure a post-convention bump.

"We went dark over the convention and that saved us $20 million and we did it very deliberately knowing that when we came out of the convention we'd have less of a bump," the adviser said. "$20 million is $20 million, and you're competing against that other message. We are very disciplined about it. We would rather spend our $20 million now in an uncluttered environment."

Asked to describe the new tone of the Romney message, the adviser answered, "It's just a winning the election package."

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. zisee

    Okay, Mitt, get tough, I am voting for you, and a lot of Americans need you to take back our country. So go out there and tell them in strong words what Romney and Ryan will do. Especially with Israel. P.S. I am not Jewish, but feel Israel has been flushed down the toilet by Obama.

    September 17, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. NMRA123

    Key here for both candidates. Get off dissing each other and start being specific about your plan to manage the major issues facing the country, Deficit reduction, jobs creation, foreign policy, healthcare. Just being against what the other guy has done or wants to do will not get my vote

    September 17, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  3. Mitt Romney

    If I really wanted to win, would I have picked Eddie Munster as my VP candidate?

    September 17, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. Dennis

    Good luck Republicans in 2016 if this is the best you can do.

    September 17, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  5. Hillcrester

    Romney announces, with regret, that Paul Ryan has withdrawn as VP nominee "to spend more time with my family," and that he will reconvene the GOP nominating convention and ask them to approve Hillary Clinton as VP nominee.

    September 17, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. Jackson

    Gee, maybe, just maybe, he will give people some actual details about his plans????

    You think he might tell us which items he'd cut from the budget instead of just "you'll find out after I am elected"?

    You think he might tell us what his exact plan for those 12 million jobs he has ***guaranteed***?

    Don't hold your breath folks. He's slipping in the polls in some of the battleground states. What these speeches will ultimately be are the last act of a desperate man.

    He's contradicted himself too many times already. Things he said while running for the Senate and for Governor are not in line with what he is saying now, and it's all catching up to him.

    The Emperor has no clothes, except for those magic mormon underwear.

    September 17, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. Yonni

    Are we supposed to erase everything he said from our hard drive (brain) and to make a space to reload his new message/information? You know it is difficult to unlearn what we have already learned from Mitt

    September 17, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  8. Hillcrester

    Is this a fun time to be a Dem, or what?

    September 17, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  9. Richie Hawtin

    He has the freedom of speech. We just need to go back to the days when papers (and now networks) openly identify their affiliations. ie. "The Post-Democrat", "The YourTownHere Republican" etc.

    September 17, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. ghostriter

    Romney mentioned that Obama had 4 years to do something about immigration and never did anything. Anything, I guess except the Dream Act.....which in theory was supported by many republicans.

    September 17, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. Nestor

    That's what tools

    September 17, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. jdoe

    Why was Romney carrying the airplane door on his back?

    September 17, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  13. beevee

    Retooling? it is more like flip-flopping and more pandering to the rich. His opinion of middle class and the poor is people making ten million and poor making one million a year and that shows he has no clue.

    September 17, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. SafeJourney

    Another flip flop comming to a tv ad soon. I've stopped watching Romneys ads. Too many lies and too many flip flops
    Hmmmmmm so Romney is the tool and Ryan is the re-tool?

    September 17, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. Wind Up Mittens Doll - $99.99 With Rebate

    Mitt Romney :

    Im not a president but i play one on TV.

    Ya think that Mittens might just tell us what his policies are
    before the election ?
    Me thinks its too late.

    September 17, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. loshark

    Etch-a-Sketch meets Silly Putty....

    September 17, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
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