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. needNewGov

    When you have no thoughts how do you retool? The party knows how to hate but that doesn't seem to be translating very well right now.
    What they should do is try and come up with real solutions to our problems instead of new lies.

    September 17, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  2. Susan in Arkansas

    Heck, anyone can balance a budget. Just cut expenses to the level of your income. Forget about the expenses you cut...if doesn't matter. Hey, just wear a blindfold when you do it! Oh, and just how are you going to pay for those 12 MILLION JOBS you will create in your first term, Mr. Romney??? This is Etch-a-Sketch on steroids.

    September 17, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. hk

    Romney – Flip flop, flip, flop... this man has no steel spine, no concrete agenda, other than just get elected. One vote from me to Mr. Obama.

    September 17, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Jake

    Romney, this is what you need to do to get back on track....

    1. Release your tax returns and explain those items that will disgust America and get sick looking at you.
    2. Admit that you assaulted that kid, that the Police were right when they arrested you, and that you have done wrong.
    3. Admit that you are evading taxes by keeping it abroad in Swiss, Cayman, and Bermuda accounts.
    4. Admit that you strapped the dog to the car roof just for kicks.
    5. Admit that you caused misery to so many when you bankrupt companies, sent jobs to China, making lots of money.
    6. Admit you were the guy who masterminded the Marriot tax scandal and made others the fall guys.
    7. Admit you fled to France to avoid serving your country and that you were really a bogus missionary.
    8. Admit you advised your sons NEVER to join the military.
    9. Admit you are out of touch with America and that you wear magical underwears.

    Just follow these 9 steps Mitt and you'll be President, for sure.

    September 17, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. Wouldstronglyprefer Justice

    Romney is revising his message because he is losing. He is desperate. Anyone remember the last Republican candidate who talked about combining/eliminating government agencies?

    September 17, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. rudix

    why all can burn US flags and no one is condemning it...but when one crib is doing a movie that dosnt have anything to do with the US government...US is guilty .....are we giving up something? are we in fear? this is not America......we have to wake up

    September 17, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. objectivist5

    If he wants to be the "Super Hero" of America, maybe he should check with Big Bosses first. You know, the corporations running the auction on November 6th. See what they want because that's what it's all about anyways. Money, Control and Greed. want to add 1 million jobs tomorrow? Make the Federal Reserve Bank a part of the Treasury and use the profits to stimulate the US growth instead of paying interest on loans that will never be repaid. Own the Bank, Own the World.

    September 17, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. Church of Suicidal

    "Retool" = the Rep. nomination process. As in, "Hey America, check out the tool we're running this time."

    September 17, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. Pander Bear

    No matter how much he "retools" he's still the same old Tool he ever was.

    September 17, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  10. Dave

    Carping about the economy without revealing any specific plans is only "retooling" for the imbeciles out there who cannot tell how hollow that message is. SHOW US YOUR TAXES. Denounce the Party platform regarding the dokmination of Women, and reveal what your plans are for recovery.

    September 17, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. Troglodytes Entertaining All

    Romney was a tool... and now he's a re-tool.

    September 17, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. RSVP

    I wonder how long we'lll remember him after he loses the election?

    September 17, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. ari

    it is complete nonsense to suggest that romney's new ads are more specific or offer more details. "combining agencies and departments" is NOT a specific solution. WHAT departments? WHAT agencies? when he tells us that, then we'll talk.

    September 17, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  14. tv22

    He's got to be specific. If he's going to combine agencies he'd better be ready to say which ones. More practical is that he should be taking a look at programs by function. We know there are redundant functions in many large organizations, within and across agencies. Work on combining and streamlining those programs – but give examples!

    September 17, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. The Media's Narrow View...

    The Media, Pundits as well as the White House all misfired on the Anti-Islam-Film...the up-rising in the Middle East goes far deeper than that...yet these groups want to cover-up their own inept part they played by not seeing it sooner or
    failed to understand the situation....and it is for this reason they all ganged-up on Gov Romney for his comments...which
    by the way were appropriated and right on...

    September 17, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. Jack in Florida

    That is the problem when you have no convictions of your own, but pander for those votes that are so desperately needed. It is called, flip flopping, once again. Such a pathetic example of a man. Queen Ann where's the pants in the Romney family,

    September 17, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  17. johnmenacherjr

    After last week surely more people than I wonder what it would take to get Bishop Romney rilied up and push the button on some country? I worry about that. Him or Ryan getting us into another war is pretty much a given. And Ryan hows that hush hush of getting rid of Medicare going for you? And wait Mitt is'nt getting rid of Obamma care now??? What the heck is going on with that partisan of this partisan groups???

    September 17, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. GrampaSez


    (just FORGET all that business of OBAMA "truth-failures". Just focus on ROMNEY. – CNN)

    September 17, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  19. Why Johnny Can't Read

    Romney/Ryan would cut education funding by 20%. So stop picking on "Barry" and the unions, and contemplate what THAT move would do to literacy and student performance.

    September 17, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  20. Lawrence Bodner

    Romney's comments of late are dangerous, inflametory and non-productive for current world geopolitical events. I considered casting my vote for Romney buy he has failed with getting his message out as to how he will solve our problems. He makes promises but offers not details or clear solutions. That's not leadership or problem solving. His actions clearly changed my mind.

    September 17, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  21. Bob, NY

    Back to the drawing board...make that etch-a-sketch board, again

    September 17, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  22. conrad

    He really has nothing to gain by addressing the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. What is going to say? Will he recant his plan to make thing so unpleasant for illegals that they 'self-deport'? Is he going to recant his proposition that he 'supports' residency for men who have fought in the US military? He can say, "Sure, you young hispanic men can fight and die defending the US, and afterwards, maybe we'll let you be a resident, but forget citizenship. If there ever were a way to 'earn' citizenship, I'd think fighting for the rest of us is pretty much it. That he thinks otherwise tells me he has not wisdom, and no compassion.

    His new campaign message should simply be, "Look guys, I REALLY want to be President. I SHOULD be President, so vote for me OK".

    September 17, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. Daniel Hoffman

    Is this the Etch-a-Sketch again?

    BTW, Clint Eastwood was a distraction alright. Without him we'd have been talking about why Romney ignored our soldiers who were under fire while he spoke. Why they didn't rate a mention speaks volumes about Republican values and priorities.

    September 17, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. norguist

    It's about your tax returns, stupid!

    September 17, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. me

    More of the same, which is saying nothing. How can he expect people to vote for him on nothing but blindness? We're just supposed to say "he hasn't said anything proof positive, F it! He gets my vote!!"

    I don't think so Mitty....Oh and I find his recent commercial calling Obama a liar HILARIOUS

    September 17, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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