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. tony

    When we all get to see how Romney balanced his tax returns to get a $1,000,000 IRA, then we'll know how good he'll be at running the country's finances.

    September 17, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Sorry, CNN. I've seen enough of the "new and improved Mitt Romney" packaging for the day (the coming week actually).

    New repackaging = same old Mitt.

    September 17, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. ST

    In any competing team, always work together with the same goal in order to win. Once the fighting erupts within the team, winning becomes a very far, far dream.

    September 17, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. Woman In California

    The GOP nominee is retooling his message


    Again? What exactly does this mean? Bigger lies and bigger promises?

    The Hispanic CoC need to ask him for SPECIFICS. They need to revoke Willard's free pass, of lying to the public and make him give the important DETAILS of what he's trying to sell? Take him to task and make him tell you exactly what he's going to do or send him on his lying way.

    September 17, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. PJ

    So, two weeks before the first debate the Romney campaign has decided that:
    1. Maybe they can't buy votes or
    2. Due to recent Court rulings, maybe they can't purge enough of the voters to win, or
    3. Vagueness is not a winning agenda, or
    4. Hoof and mouth disease is dangerous so
    Guess what? Maybe we should be honest and specific.
    How cute is that.

    September 17, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. GI Joe

    He's toast and he knows it.

    The republicans are ALL desperate. We saw that this morning when Bay Buchanon was on TV (the white supremacist sister of Pat Buchanon another white supremicist).

    The are in panic/recover mode. It's not pretty. MORE LIES AND BIGGER LIES WILL FOLLOW ROMNEY TO THE END.

    September 17, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. d

    Etch a sketch coming soon to the american people! why does romney think people do not understand what he is saying...he is going to make it easier for us? what the heck? we already get it! and do not like what he is selling us...

    September 17, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  8. GI Joe

    We saw the smirk on his face as he walked away from his infamous speech late one night last week.

    We don't need the evil "smirker" in the WH. No wonder foreign countries want to kill the republicans (and they will take the dems with them).

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

    The O-media team at work.
    400,000 children out of school in Obama's home town and not a word from the President.., or here on CNN.
    Planned Embassy attacks portrayed as 'spontaneous' even though evidence links them to 9/11.
    40 million Americans out of work while Obama give millions of illegals work permits, as the Omedia team rejoices.
    Energy costs skyrocketing, seemingly un-noticed.
    Healthcare costs continueing to skyrocket, seemingly un-noticed.
    Debt spending at record pace.., seeminly un-noticed.
    CNN is clearly part of the O-media team and has lost all repect from fair minded Americans as a result, as viewership show.

    September 17, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens has the birther message down pat. He has the anti immigration message mastered. He has the tax cuts for billionaires and increased national debt crowd firmly behind him. He has the chickenhawks fired up for more war. Even the anti women's rights groups are supporting him. What more does he need?

    September 17, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  11. Randy, San Francisco

    The insensitive Libyan remarks defined Romney without presidential character. Reaching out to Hispanics this late in the campaign is too little, too late. He can't walk back his anti-HIspanic and anit-immigration remarks while pandering to the extremists in the GOP/Tea Party. A picture says a thousand words. The lack of minorities, including Hispanics, in the audience at the RNC speaks loudler and more truthfully than the token number of Hispanic speakers.

    September 17, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  12. luke,az

    Gov. Romney is NOT presidential material. I can't picture him dealing with the heads of other foreign powers. He does not possess leadership qualities sufficient to lead our country. It's evident that Gov. Romney is a puppet for the wealthy.

    September 17, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. scmom

    We know all that about balancing budgets and all but how will you do it. It's too late you are not a leader and cannot represent OUR country not just yours and your rich counterparts.

    September 17, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  14. Joan in MS

    Romney has been going down in the polls since he picked that liar from Wisconsin. When Ryan started opening his mouth, the electorate saw what a joke that marathon-man was. After all, Ryan's foreign policy is "I have foreign policy experience ... I voted to send men and women to war." Geeezzz. That is the real rift ... Romney and Ryan, not on the same play book, not the non-existence of their economic policies.

    September 17, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. DumbasRocks [R]s

    "The GOP nominee is retooling his message..." Romney IS the biggestest "re-tool" that has ever run for president.

    In only 12 years the GOP has given us the worst president EVER, the worst vice-presidential candidate EVER, and the biggest "re-tool" etch-a-sketch flip-flopper EVER. Thanks GOP, for showing us how much you love the USA.

    September 17, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. juneopop

    I have to ask the Romney team after working with this man day to day do you really think he should be president poltical allegiances aside? If your anser is yes, which of this mans" shining" qualities do you think makes him a great Commander and Chief?

    September 17, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    tony – It was reported that he had $100 million in an IRA. That would take 2000 years to do that legally.

    September 17, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  18. Sniffit

    ""I know how to balance budgets. We balanced our budget in my business, in the Olympics, and every year in my state,""

    Haha...yeah, he knows alright: ask the gov't for money. THAT is how he balanced the Olympics budget and THAT is how he managed to "balance" budgets at Bain, be it via actual direct subsidies to the businesses he was "helping" or by doing things like raiding the pension fund to balance the operational budget and thereby leaving the government to make up the tens of millions of dollars in missing pension money.

    September 17, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. B.

    Better hurry-up Mitt your running out of Platitudes and ideas..

    September 17, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  20. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens should take the honorable way out, and say he was brainwashed by Fox foreign owned media.

    September 17, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. RealityBites

    Romney has done something that Obama never could..., balance a checkbook.

    September 17, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  22. Sniffit

    "tony – It was reported that he had $100 million in an IRA. That would take 2000 years to do that legally."

    Be careful. What he did was very likley legal and THAT is the issue he and the GOP/Teatrolls don't want highlighted. It's not that he's a criminal or did anything wrong....it's that what he was able to do SHOULD BE PROHIBITED, BUT ISN'T. Releasing his tax returns and details about how he scammed the loopholes to grow himself a $100M tax shelter would (a) not reflect very well on his character and (b) would provide a giant example of just how corrupt our tax code is in favor of the wealthy...because the wealthy bought the tax code...and would start a very serious public conversation about just how badly those kinds of loopholes need to be erased. The latter is unacceptable to the GOP/Teatrolls. The very LAST thing they really want happening is a spotlight getting shined on how the tax code has been used to further the country's shift to plutocracy and suck all power out of the middle-class and poor.

    September 17, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    CNN) – After a tumultuous week marked by Republican hand-wringing over his comments on unrest in the Middle East, Mitt Romney is going back to the beginning. The GOP nominee is retooling his message
    He's shaking the Etch-A-Sketch...again!
    Please call the me when the debates start.
    All of this "retooling" is boring and predictable.

    Obama 2012. Period.

    September 17, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  24. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Romney is Re-Tooling his message? No doubt that is a Liberal Talking Point. The Liberal's are reverting to their old game, Selling Snake Oil. So what is the advantage if Obama is Re-Elected. NO JOBS! But more Food Stamps! Think about it. Expanded Government. Result. More Nanny's needed! Who will pay the Nanny's. Not you. Someone else. I've got it. The Rich! But there are no Rich! Now what. I've got it. We will do what the Teachers in Chicago are doing. Strike! Occupy Wall Street. But wait. Wall Street is Broke! Find the Golden Goose, we must find the Golden Goose! But we killed the Golden Goose! Now what????

    September 17, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. rs

    Mr. Romney must be a giant embarrassment for the GOP. "Ooops, I made another mistake, time to re-invent myself" has gotten horribly old- in just the last 3 weeks!. Really how can this man justify his candidacy when he can't even stay on one single point or policy for a single days' news cycle? This isn't just "flip-flopping" it is a complete denial of reality and history.
    Such a shame- Republicans used to be the "political adults". Now they are just the politically demented.

    September 17, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
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