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. Jules

    A retool? His new campaign ad once again says nothing but generalities. That doesn't sound like a retool to me, it sounds like more of the same.

    September 17, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Walter

    What he needs to focus on is the fact that Barry has said nothing about the Chicago teachers' strike. Bring up the fact that Barry is beholden to unions which is why he's o.k. with 350K students doing nothing while these so-called teachers want more and more for teaching students, 80% of which are not proficient in math and reading.

    September 17, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. Tool is right

    tool or retool, whatever...

    September 17, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  4. Miyafuji Yoshika

    Romney is known to have lied several HUNDRED times over his campaign... I don't trust this guy with loaning him a dollar, heck maybe even a half a dollar.

    September 17, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  5. Rationalintn

    So, Mittens is going to do the same thing he did in the private sector, to our federal government. He will break up federal agencies and outsource government jobs to China and India. Super idea, Mittens. I cannot wait to call the IRS and attempt to communicate with someone who can barely speak English.

    He will permanently fix our immigration problem, by escorting those problem people to the door.

    He will solve our jobs problem by cutting taxes for the wealthiest among us, and ask the middle class to pay more to help those poor folks with tons of money out.

    He will give the green light to Netanyahu to start WWIII with Iran, putting an even greater strain on our men and women who serve in the military. And, racking up even more debt, our economy will finally collapse.

    No worries though, the wealthy will have plenty of cash to get by, and the Mormon church can take over the country. Maybe that's why Mormon's stockpile food and supplies in special rooms in their homes, because they know what the ultimate plan is.

    September 17, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. woodofpine

    As an independent that's voted for all the darlings of the GOP over the past 30+ years, the problem with the GOP is 'track record' – the real deal. Their track record on spending and national debt is far worse than the Dems during the same period. They are forked tongued. Their entire tax and deregulate legacy is a horrible failure, yet rather than 'manning up' they are more retrenched than ever – and hypocritical. The industries Ike termed the Military Industrial Complex are right wing owned. The fear mongering now is that the military might actually be treated in the ame manner as other agencies with respect to debt reduction. We spend about 6 times more than miliatary spender #2 (China) and more than ##2-15 combined! Reagan budget director David Stockman wrote last year that DOD needs an immediate 25% cut – but that won't happen – not with the GOP. We REALLY need to stand by the President now.

    September 17, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. on StreetWise

    Now, the TeaSenateHouse has squandered every chance to work with our president... over 400+ senate filibusters and the house cons refused to comprise on the Fed Budget holding the line on the Bush Tax Cuts, resulted in a lower of an A- credit rating from AA on financing our nation deficit and just added to the RED ink with a hike in the interest rate that the government has to barrow. So, Romney/Ryan's wants to double down on Reaganomics trickle down economy plan... Cut Taxes on the Wealthy and Corporations and repeal regulations. Ask yourself; How in the hell we got in this mess in the first way? Hell of a job, Boehner and McConnell!

    September 17, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. livingston

    The American people are laughing at you Mr. Romney. It started out as a snicker, then a chuckle and now it's a belly laugh. You have lost any credibility you ever had and in doing so you have lost the race. Go home.

    September 17, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. a disgrace but you voted for him

    finally! obama's disgrace of a presidency is ending!!!

    September 17, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. Tao

    "Contrast that with Obama who has no second term agenda," Madden added. Really???? Romney knows how to take an insult a little too far. Obama has NO SECOND TERM AGENDA? Please.
    Romney attacked the President of the US while our embassies were under attack. He is un-American and will say anything to win. This is why he is unfit to be President.
    These are Romney’s ideas: More tax breaks for the rich and “self deportation”???

    September 17, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Maxx

    Romney is getting desperate, expect campaign shifts every week as he sinks lower and lower in the polls.

    September 17, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Romney is looking more and more like a toolshed than a candidate for the presidency.

    September 17, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  13. monolith092068

    Excuse me, but how exactly does "combining government agencies" – presumably saving money but also laying off workers in order to save said money – help the overall economy? Sure it saves money, but it also puts even more people out of work. Is this tiny grain of sand he's offering supposed to fill the massive void of details? Not likely.

    September 17, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. Jules

    Romney has a rift between me, myself and I. He has been on so many sides of every issue he must be dizzy all day long every day. So now there is going to be a retool of the campaign. Does that mean he is going to stop telling lies, speak in specifics instead of generalities, tell us once and for all where he really stands on the issues and not just where the right wing base wants him to stand? If he doesn't do all these things, it is just the same ol – same ol.

    September 17, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. ManTex

    Yeah MR know how to balance a budget. Keep the tax cuts for the rich ... transfer more tax burden to the middle class and keep jaw boning the myth of trickle down economics.

    The middle class needs to ask itself why MR is so hesitant to actually proffer a tax plan for public review. The answer is he knows he will lose once the middle class figures out is all about maintaining tax cuts for the rich and strapping the middle class with more and more tax.

    September 17, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. LBAM

    As it is often said, this TWIT will do and say anything to make an appeal to whatever crowd. BITT Robmey you have already showed your true self towards BLACKS and HISPANICS, and as a matter of fact the anyone w2ho is not as wealthy as you. YOU WILL NEVER BE PRESIDENT as long as I can VOTE. YOu are nothing but a faker and a taker. Show me your tax return you draft dogger, potential Tax cheat, job out caster in chief.

    September 17, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. Jim Hahn

    Too little too late. Mitt has regularly and consistently refused to provide specifics as to how he would handle the economy or anything else for that matter. Add that to the fact that he is wooden, aloof, has a very difficult time relating to the "average person", i.e., those making less than $100,000 a year and has steadfastly refused to release his tax returns (meaning he is hiding something and perhaps hiding a lot), and has changed his positions on the issues nearly as often as he changes his shirt, making it nearly impossible to successfully etch-a-sketch his campaign at this point.

    Also, he can talk all he wants about immigration reform, the Republican party has repeatedly and consistently said they are not interested and Latinos know it.

    September 17, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Hey Ray E., can people in GA really be that stupid, or are you just an extreme example?

    September 17, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. Dante

    Only problem with this strategy is that it is still Mitt Romney.

    September 17, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |

    Dear Mitt,
    You may try to BUY our VOTES, CHEAT with voter repression and LIE but you WON'T WIN! We Americans are way to smart to fall for all your B.S. For "You People" your time is up.
    Sincerely America

    September 17, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. bob saget

    Why vote for someone who is going to turn his back on the people. You don't need to be a psychologist to see that in his demeanor. Someone who has to think of a strategy plan to win votes is not someone I vote for. Maybe try just being passionate about the big job at hand here and come up with something better than, "I need a new strategy plan for the votes."

    September 17, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    Well, I expect this to go over like "New Coke."

    September 17, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. Maria

    A natural born Flipflopper.

    September 17, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. Romanee

    Romneys flip flopping skills are second to none.

    September 17, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. Hillcrester

    which tax deductions? which agencies? which parts of ACA! which countries to invade?

    witch Romney!

    September 17, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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