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. Mongoose

    David Frum is on the right track – Romney has a policy problem across the board. Coming to terms with that in September is a joke.

    Romney has listened to enough Obama-haters to believe it wouldn't matter whether he had any real ideas or not. And since he got into the real world of a general election, he's discovered that there is more to the electorate than Fox News zombies. Despite what the Limbaugh's & Hannity's would say, most of the country is actually moderate.

    September 17, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Since Mitt Romney is so reluctant to tell us which tax loopholes and deductions that he would eliminate, then we should ask him about which ones that he would definitely keep.

    "A strong leader leads from the heart, not allowing themselves to be lead by popular opinion." Frank Herbert

    September 17, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. MrBo

    After getting retooled he'll still be a tool.

    September 17, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Core republican Values

    "Re-tool?" "Etch a sketch?" "I don't agree with that health law I passed in Massachusetts?" He used to support a women's right to choose. Romney has made flip-flopping an Olympic sport.

    Who is Mitt Romney? Spin a wheel for this week's episode!

    September 17, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. penny wright

    The Romney equation....

    Romney + Karl Rove + Rush Limbaugh + Grover Norquist + super rich + $uperPACs = 1%

    September 17, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

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

    The American people have already heard more than we care re: Mitt Romney. He's lied too many times these past months to ever trust anything he says now, the last few weeks of his campaign.

    Re-tool .... re-trust. Ain't going to happen.

    September 17, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. He's a joke!

    Governor Etch-a-Sketch is nothing but a joke. This person, who claims to be a man, will never be able to understand what true difficulties most common people have. It doesn't matter how much he will retool, he isn't going to win.

    September 17, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. myviewis

    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.

    And what do you think of Obama claiming he created 1,100 jobs because he increased tariff on China on Chinese tire imports yet he fails to mention that those tire imports were replaced by tire imports from Mexico, Indonesia and Thailand as per Fact Check???????

    September 17, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. Dave Jaipersaud

    It doesn’t matter how Romney and the Republican try to spin their policies, the American people know how disastrous those policies have been for this country, especially for the Middle Class, Latinos and the less fortunate.

    Americans are not stupid. How can anyone even thing Romney’s policies will be better for this country. Romney and the Republicans policies from 2001 to 2008 brought this great nation to its knees, their policies caused the Great Recession, their policies wiped out almost 10,000,000 jobs as a direct result of the Great Recession, their policies wiped out retirement savings for tens of millions of Americans as a direct result to the Great Recession, their policies took a $1 trillion surplus to a $13 trillion deficit, their policies resulted in the decline in the percentage of Americans that are in the middle class, their policies resulted in tens of millions of Americans without healthcare, their policies resulted in millions of Americans losing their homes, their policies will be detrimental to Latinos and all other minorities, their policies will result in another war in the Middle East, and the list goes on.

    No Americans in their right mind will believe that Romney/Ryan policies will be better for the Economy. The only way for anyone to think that is if they are suffering from total amnesia. People will remember what happened in 2007/2008 and the years leading up to the Great Recession. It was the exact same policies that Romney is advocating now that caused the Great Recession. We are not that dumb to think that these same policies that caused the Great Recession will somehow magically make the economy better.

    I guess Romney/Ryan think we are all stupid and don’t know the truth and can’t remember the dark days of the great recession of 2007 and 2008 and the years leading up to it.

    The choice is clear. Do we want to go back to the exact same policies (Romney/Ryan current policies) that brought America (this great Nation) to its knees or do we want to continue to build on the recovery.

    September 17, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. Maxx

    Here's a fresh campaign idea: how about you come clean and release 12 years of tax returns? Maybe then people would actually believe what you say.

    September 17, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. Billy Gates

    Mitt-hate to break it to you, but promising to remove tax deductions ain't enough to fix the deficit. Why not promise to cut defense by 30% and restore tax to before the trouble starter? To simple a fix?

    September 17, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. FactCheck

    What exactly is his retooling? This is the same old drivel he has been pushing for the past year... he knows how to do stuff so just trust him to do it. No specific, no details, no new plans. Just the same old tired Republican talking points about tax cuts to the rich, killing Medicare/Social Security and increasing military spending.

    September 17, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. PixieDust

    The federal government doesn't need to balance its budgets. It just needs to get the deficit spending within reasonable limits relative to the economy.

    Furthermore, we don't need Mitt Romney.

    September 17, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. Purnell Meagre

    Disgrace? I don't think so. There; I've provided as much substantiation as you have. See you in November.

    September 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. DFW Dann

    Hey Mitt. Last time I checked your state balanced the budget by borrowing and so did many of the businesses you purchased. How is that different from the federal government borrowing?

    September 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. BobZemko

    If he really wanted to help the country, he'd drop out of the race.

    September 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. IceMan

    Stick a fork in the Romney campaign.

    It's done.

    September 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. Mittens

    Keep shaking that Etch-A-Sketch...

    September 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |

    Mitt Romney will be an outstanding president for the Nation.

    It is Obama that has no credit with me. His is a failed presidency – he has no record to defend.
    All that he and the liberal media can do is go on the attack against Romney which is difficult when you consider that his ENTIRE political career comes down to 4 years as the Conservative Governor of the most Liberal state. That's it!
    Not exactly a dossier...
    but since Obama's admin is notorious for "manufacturing crisis" – we all know he has NO PROBLEM making something out of nothing when it comes to Romney's public sector experience.
    Note that Romney all served as Governor w/out taking a salary.
    Mitt Romney has got an uncommon character.

    September 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. DCD

    Funny, how Romney is saying it's too little to late for Obama on China, but now he is retooling his message for hispanics. Isn't that hypocritical. Romney says he balanced the budget at Bain and as governor, but he neglects to tell you how he did it. At least as governor we know, by cutting programs and increasing (so called fees) taxes by approving new and higher fees on everything from marriage licenses to real estate transactions to gun licenses. At Bain you could say by shipping American jobs overseas and closing companies instead of saving them.

    September 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. kinglywarrior

    This game is over, someone should let Mitt know.

    September 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. ljjm

    Retooling a message presumes he had a message at the beginning. I still haven't heard any real, concrete plans from the man.

    September 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Richard

    Does anybody realistically think Romney can win (without cheating)? How do you win a presidential election with NO BLACKS, NO HISPANICS and NO WOMEN? RETOOL your campaign???? Take out the "re" part and you have your answer. How do you retool a tool to make him not look like such a tool? Talk about lipstick on a pig.

    September 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. Davey

    Hey, Mitt what's the story today?

    September 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |

    New Republican slogan

    Obama destroys, Romney creates

    September 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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