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. Todd

    The TOOL is going to Retool

    September 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. brian

    how about retooling the campaign slogan to, "i am a tool"

    September 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  3. DDW

    If the GOP had run Huntsman as their candidate they would have won easily. However with Romney/Ryan they haven't a chance.

    September 17, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. Romney 1040 or Obama 2012.

    I agree 100% that the ECONOMY is the focus now.

    --> Show us the tax returns R'money!

    --> REMOVE the Obstructionist Republicans from power in November!

    --> Keep the US from being PURCHASED using secret donations to SuperPacs

    --> Don't let the Republicans destroy Health Care

    --> Don't let the Republicans destroy Social Security

    --> Don't let the Republicans destroy the environment

    --> Don't let the Republicans destroy Education

    --> Don't let the Republicans destroy Women's rights

    --> Don't let the Republicans destroy collective bargaining

    --> Don't let the Republicans destroy the MIDDLE CLASS anymore!!!!

    September 17, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. FactCheck

    What was it like to to be in Rome when the Roman Empire fell apart?

    Why don't you ask Dubya and his band of buddies. Oh that's right.. you VOTED for them.

    September 17, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. babs

    the smell of defeat permeates the inept shenanigans of R Money & his sidekick Lyin' Ryan.

    September 17, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. New England Independent

    Of course he "balanced the budget" in Massachusetts, they have a balanced budget amendment. He and the Massachusetts state house just funneled the issue down to the cities and towns to handle. By closing business tax loopholes and increasing fees assessed to businesses they did a good job making the state more business unfriendly than it had become due to the .com bubble bursting. Why do you think he left office with a 34% favoribility rating after starting his term with a 67% rating?

    September 17, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. TomGI

    So I guess MR is going to hand the campaign strategy over to Ed Gillespie? Ed will probably try to channel Ronald Reagan's tactics they used against Jimmy Carter?

    September 17, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. Johnny Cash

    Romney is a clown dressed up to be a Presidential candidate by not saying anything substantial and taking both positions of every single issue.

    He is a joke... and the GOP should be ashamed of having him as a Presidential candidate.

    but He is also dangerous... who manages to upset its closest ally UK when making a friendly visit. He also manages to provoke Russia by saying that they are US greatest enemy.

    September 17, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. little tin god

    Romney is like a landed fish, just flip-flopping all over the place.

    September 17, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. HEHE

    More jokes from the joke factory, the republican party.

    September 17, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. Ztom

    The GOP had a great chance here in the 2012 presidential election. Looks more and more that they had simply written off the next 4 years, nominated Mitt, and are looking at 2016, knowing that it's not going to happen this time around.

    September 17, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. BeverlyNC

    Romney never has told us ANYTHING he stands for his whole campaign. We know nothing about how he will create jobs, how the math adds us on his non-existent economic plan, no clue on his plans for immigration, no clue on his foreign policy except to show he know NOTHING about what's going on in the world around us and sheer arrogance when asked to show his taxes as all candidates do. Romney made his VP Ryan show Romney TEN YRS of his tax returns but Romney will not show the People his tax returns. In fact we have only been shown 1 year.
    So what "change" can Romney give us when we know nothing what he stands for as it is? This man is no leader, is dishonest, could care less about SERVING as President but just the power it could give him. That make Romney very dangerous and unqualified for office.
    I stand with my President Obama who I trust and who has proven to stand up for ALL Americans.

    September 17, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. a slozomby

    retroactively resigned. thats all you need to know about mitt.

    September 17, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  15. pinko

    Romney balanced the Olympic budget by getting federal funding. Romney balanced his companies budgets by racking up huge loans and then declaring bankruptcy. It that the king of budget balancing American wants?

    September 17, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  16. a disgrace but you voted for him

    a failing america has two last things to tell obama.FOOL ME ONCE AND PACK YOUR BAGS!!!!!!

    September 17, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. davetharave

    The economy is a very important issue in this election, but it is not the only issue. We can't have a president 'fix' the economy and sink up in every other area. Even if Mitt could 'fix' the economy with his Wall Street friendly deregulation, letting big investment banks do whatever they want and cutting taxes for his millionaire and billionaire cronies, he will sink us every other which way. I don't want his 'economic fix', the cost for average Americans is going to be way too high.

    September 17, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    "Retool" yet again? I think it's better relegated to the "scrap" bin. Give it up Mittens. You've had more stumbles getting out of the gate in your campaign, than Gerald Ford did when was President. Show us your tax returns!

    September 17, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. Todd

    Sounds more like code for "preparing to FLIP FLOP on the issues again"

    September 17, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  20. Thomas

    @a disgrace but you voted for him
    finally! obama's disgrace of a presidency is ending!!!

    GW Bush = Romney !

    September 17, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. JAK

    I can't believe there are enough Heartless-Mindless Americans to even have this guy in the running. If Romney wins...good luck America, you'll be screwed.

    September 17, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. t.marino

    The tool is going to retool...isn't that rich.

    September 17, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. Matt

    Mr Romney, Honesty and Truthfullness pays off big time, which you were lacking from the begining. None of your tactics are helping you because you are fake.

    September 17, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  24. Lola

    The media is in campaign mode for Obama. I have never seen such one-sided reporting. I sincerely hope that Romney wins. This country is being destroyed before our eyes.

    September 17, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  25. yes!

    promise to nuke Iran to AIPAC you're all set.

    September 17, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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