Will rift report distract from new economic message?
September 17th, 2012
10:58 AM ET
10 years ago

Will rift report distract from new economic message?

Los Angeles (CNN) - After a tumultuous week marked by Republican hand-wringing over his comments on unrest in Libya and Egypt, Mitt Romney is going back to the beginning. The GOP nominee is refocusing his message on the issue repeatedly singled-out by campaign advisers as the one that will decide the election: the economy.

Based on excerpts released from a speech Romney is scheduled to deliver to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Monday in Los Angeles and two new TV ads, Romney appears to be starting the week with a simpler, easier to understand economic pitch to voters.

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"I know how to balance budgets. We balanced our budget in my business, in the Olympics, and every year in my state," Romney is expected to say in his address.

Romney echoes that message with plain language in his new ad. "Gotta balance the budget. You gotta cut the deficit," he says in the spot.

In one excerpt from his speech Monday, Romney will recommend "combining agencies and departments" of the federal government, a remedy for red ink he has rarely talked about publicly.

Romney's address is "consistent with what we've done on the economic message but also adding more details on exact measures to grow the economy," senior adviser Kevin Madden told CNN.

"Contrast that with Obama who has no second term agenda," Madden added.

With polls showing him trailing badly among Latino voters, Romney will also tailor his message on immigration. Absent from the excerpts released by his campaign is any talk of self-deportation.

The return to the economy follows days of open criticism from some top Republican strategists and pundits about Romney's comments on the recent diplomatic attacks in Libya and his overall strategy for winning in November.

A new distraction for the campaign emerged late Sunday night in a glaring report from POLITICO, which revealed some of the tensions brewing among Romney's top advisers. In the report, Romney strategist Stuart Stevens is blamed for some of the perceived mishaps at the Republican Convention, most notably Clint Eastwood's memorable, yet bizarre speech to an empty chair.

A senior Romney adviser dismissed the POLITICO piece as inside baseball gossip. "Stu is part of the team," the adviser said.

Reports of internal strife plagued John McCain's campaign in the weeks before the 2008 election. Stories about the infighting surrounding McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate eventually interfered with the Arizona senator's campaign message.

The POLITICO story on the Romney campaign is beginning to have the same effect, but for how long remains unclear.

On Twitter, former speechwriter to President George W. Bush and CNN contributor David Frum said the POLITICO piece "utterly misses the point."

"The Romney campaign has a messaging problem because it has a policy problem," Frum tweeted.

The Republican nominee, however, responded to the reports in an interview to air on Telemnundo Monday, saying he has a has a "terrific campaign" and there will be "no changes" to his team.

"I've got a terrific campaign," Romney said, according to a transcript of the interview. "My senior campaign people work extraordinarily well together. I work well with them. Our campaign is doing well."

Pressed further about whether he'll make adjustments to his campaign staff, Romney said: "No, I– I've got a good team."

And on a campaign conference call, top Romney adviser Ed Gillespie appeared to offer up a defense of the convention while discussing the agenda ahead.

"After a successful convention where people learned a lot about Mitt Romney as a person, they’re eager to hear more about policies."


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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (619 Responses)
  1. karek40

    I read the article and the comments, generally comments show a bias towards either the liberal or conservative positions, they ignore the facts or maybe just do not know them. G Bush proposed NAFTA, B Clinton signed it. B. Clinton repealed the Glass-Steagall act of 1933 which prevented our banks from investing in the stock market, credit unions from home loans etc. This act separated facits of the mortgage/banking business. When the Glass-Steagall act was repealed we once again had a crash similar to the 1929 crash, except we haven't recovered from this one because of the dismal job numbers. The problem is we continue to elect globalist presidents not that one is liberal and the other is a conservative. They are trying to be president of the world without taking into account what is in the best interest of the U.S. Wake up and smell the coffee.

    September 17, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. Joan in MS

    Retool = He's Toast

    The Republicans all the way down the ticket are going down as well with this clueless retooler at the helm. It looks like the Dems will retake the house.

    September 17, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. Hillcrester

    Go to the RCP website and look at the recebt Obama vs. Romney polls.

    10 polls show Obama ahead, most by 3-6 points.

    Good old GOP-favoring Rasmussen has Romney ahead by 2.

    Re-tooling, anyone?

    September 17, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. T. E. Lawrence O. A.

    THE OLYMPICS!?! Romney was only able to "Balance the Budget" for the Olympics because the USA gave those Games TONS OF FREE TAXPAYER MONEY! A monkey could have "Balanced the Olympics Budget" after that enormous infusion of free cash needed because they were in trouble – at the expense of US Taxpayers.

    How dare Romney claim that managing tons of free taxpayer money used to Bail Out the Olympics is ANY kind of example of his skills in 'Balancing the Budget'!?!

    September 17, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. Joan in MS

    America: Don't double down on Dubya!

    September 17, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Mark

    Last week in talking about the fiscal cliff Romney has said that government cuts will create higher unemployment and we can't allow government cuts to happen as planned. This week Romney is saying we need government cuts to reduce the deficit. No matter where you make the cuts Mitt it's going to create unemployment for someone. No way around that so make up your mind.

    September 17, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. tmv31

    Here it goes...now...wait for it! FLOP! Or was that a FLIP??

    September 17, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. Tim


    He could be the President who has given the most to charity, in actual dollars most likely, but also percentagewise. (The last two years: 16%. Obama, 1% [gave more the next year]; Biden, 0.2%; Newt 2.6%)

    September 17, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. true blue

    Just remember the more you lie, your Mr wiggles shrinks. Poor Ann what will you do.

    September 17, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. Bill in Ohio

    Good grief, Romney's finished. I'm giving up on the GOP: This is the second time they've botched a very winnable election. It's time for a third party, seriously this time! I'm voting for Gary Johnson!

    September 17, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC


    Funny all these far left Obama policies make perfect sense if we had a money tree, magic wand and no enemies, WELL WE DONT HAVE ANY OF THAT, vote for reality, vote MITT!
    What "far left" policies are you referring to? He's been forced to govern like a conservative. He has cut taxes across the board. He has not raised any taxes, despite what the right wing rumor mill might say. He has held spending constant for the nearly four years that he's been office. Spending growth has been only 1.4% since 2009. Under GWB it grew by 7% per year. What "far left" policies are you referring to?

    September 17, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  12. Charlie from the North

    Hey GOP ! In the 1950's a scoundrel name Joe McCarthy nearly killed the Republican Party party with his hate filled diatribes and witch hunts. Of course the Democrats did not like it but they were powerless to stop him on their own. A brave group of moderate Republican saved their party from disasterously following that fascist off the cliff of ignorance and intolerance. You need to reign in the Tea Party now or they will destroy the GOP on their way to destroying America. Some of my fellow Democrats welcome the demise of the GOP. I say be careful what you wish for. The Democratic party needs the GOP. No one is right all the time and being challenged not only means that your bad ideas "get shot down" but it also means that you get better at explaining yourself. Opposition is Patriotic and needed but the saber rattling being done by the Tea Party now is of a kind usually reserved for our actual enemies. The far right, in word and deed is declaring war on America. The next time a Tea Party/GOP says they want to take us back to the "good old days" of the 1950s read up a little on Joe McCarthy and think long and hard before letting that genie out of the bottle.

    September 17, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. Tim

    Democrats want us all to know that Mitt was born rich, as if that disqualifies him from being an excellent president. Romney inherited a fortune from his father, who was an all-American rags-to-riches story, a working man who never graduated college and went on to head American Motors. But listen to this: Mitt Romney turned around and gave away every dime he inherited to charity, honoring his father's memory by funding a school of management in his honor. I've never heard of anyone who has done that - give away his entire inheritance.

    September 17, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. babooph

    Same Mitt,different day...

    September 17, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. Johan S

    How come every time they retool, the same tool keeps coming up?

    September 17, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  16. Hillcrester

    The Romney campaign is flailing because it is failing.

    September 17, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  17. true blue

    Olympics that tool got 4.5 million form that other tool in Texas part of the Bailout.

    September 17, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. FactCheck

    As governor of Massachusetts, he won intense respect and loyalty from Secretary Jane Edmonds, a liberal Democrat and a black woman, whom he chose as cabinet secretary for education and workforce training.

    Jane Edmonds is neither a liberal nor a Democrat. Just because she "self-describes" as these things doesn't make it so. Kinda the same way that saying "tax cuts for the rich will help the economy" won't make it come true.

    September 17, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. GayAtheist

    I think it's a bit late to be "retooling" things.

    Stick A Fork In Mitt the Twit...he's done.

    September 17, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
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