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. Anchorite

    This just in, Romney condemns Obama for expressing sympathy for Pontius Pilate, Hitler, and Ghengis Khan.

    September 17, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. Big Jilm

    The Ratt Money robot is about to reboot in MS DOS mode!

    September 17, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. Vijay

    Before retooling himself, he needs to release his tax returns for at least 5 yrs to show that he is capable of running govt. POLITICO reports were always true. If he needs to focus on economy, he needs to have constructive plan how to fix it, rather than eliminating funding for Plant Parenthood, forcing anti-abortion, deregulating industries, privatizing SSN, changing medicare to voucher care and medicaid. If he cut taxes for rich, it will have ripple affect not generating single dollar to the govt, so that govt can invest them in future projects.

    September 17, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. bspurloc

    etcha sketch.....
    He balanced the budget at BAIN? there was no budget just BORROW and pay the execs.
    65% of Mass hate mittens. = failure

    September 17, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. The Independent

    You can re-tool the tool but he's still a tool.

    September 17, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Romney will not win this election. It will be another 4 years of higher deficits and economic turmoil. America is done!

    September 17, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. John

    Mitt, if you are going to finally talk about economics, are you finally going to describe how your 5 part plan will create 12 million jobs? and why the upper 1% need an additional 30% tax cut (Ryan plan)? Would be a nice start rather than just talking about Obama...............

    September 17, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  8. Dave

    By the way, you didn't balance ANY budgets. The Olympics were funded entirely by the US Government. Mitt, you are a hack and a liar.

    September 17, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. Billy in NYC

    Re-tool is good. How about your tax returns? That's better. Show us your tax returns, then we talk !!

    September 17, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. CJPA

    Isn't it a shame that he thinks all he has to do is say "gotta" to appeal to the "Middle Class?" Unbelievable. Now they have to teach him to speak like we do?? What a joke he continues to be. We didn't just fall off the turnip truck . . . We "gotta" brain, ya know!!!

    September 17, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. Brian Maple

    Yes, it will. For two reasons: The rift shows that even they know they have no solid foundation of a campaign. Also, the tax plan they have so far presented have already proven to be a complete joke. No, Mr. Romney, middle-income families in America do not make $200,000USD, per year.

    September 17, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  12. John Q.

    Yes Mitt knows how to balance budgets using the easy way... BANKRUPCY

    September 17, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  13. Ronda in Houston,TX

    People can call it re-tool or whatevery they want. Romney is still a liar and a slick snake. He will said anything and do everythiing he can to become president. Instead of talking about the economy Romney, release 10+ years of your tax returns.

    September 17, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. Catherine

    Why do people keep insisting that the President address the Chicago schools strike? This is a local issue. Unless it affects the U.S., why should he. Do you expect him to get involved in every local issue? Isn't that what mayors and governors are for? Let the Mayor of Chicago and if necessary, the Governor of Illinois address that issue. Presidents need to pay attention to national and international issues, not local issues.

    September 17, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. john

    Does Romney really think that the people most effected by "the economy" are going to vote for him? He and the rest of the greedy 1% are what destroyed the economy anyway. He ran a lousy campaign and picked a fringe VP candidate. Its basically over, he will lose Florida, Ohio and I bet even Michigan.

    September 17, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  16. GOp Hate you

    lets see here are some of his messages
    shut up and trust me
    our party ruing this country Obama hasnt fixed it fast enough but give me 8 years to do it.

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


    1.- Does Mitt Romney have offshore Bank accounts ?

    2.- Did Mitt Romney outsource jobs to China during his time as CEO at Bain Capital ?

    3.- Does Mitt Romney change his political position frequently, depending on what will advance him in his Political career most ?

    September 17, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. Marie MD

    He can't run on his record because he was too to the left and how he has no idea which way is up/dosn/rig/lect. Now his ideas are mostly against the middle class so he can't really tell us that the last little guy loophole which is mortgage loan interest claim is one of the things he wants to take from us.
    Was reagan the one who took credit card interest from us being able to claim it in our yearly taxes?
    His daddy must be looking down from planet Kolob and crying.

    September 17, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. Samuel D

    I have nothing bad to say about this candidate but I have to say this. How does the republicans really expect to win by asking the Americans to vote for a person who is worth a quarter of a billion dollars and grew up rich. There is absolutely no way he understands what it is like to wonder where the rents is going to come from this month or how am I going to feed the family this week. He mentioned the middle income of this country is $200,000 to $250,000. Holy God Wake Up and look around you Mitt, people are going hungry and still losing there homes. Does Mitt know what that is like? And please do not tell me the problem is because of the current administration policies. There is a reason no one hears about George W. Bush any more. The guy was and I believe history will bear me out on this, he will be called the worst president America ever had.

    September 17, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  20. whatariot

    Mittens is a TOOL . . . so it stands to reason that he would re-TOOL . . . that's what TOOLS do . . . this man Mittens is a disaster and his people (lackies) should focus on the POST-Mittens campaign while our next President, Obama, TOOLS his inaugural speech . . . back to Bain with you Mitties - that's the sort of vampirical companys your most suited for.

    September 17, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain: Mittens 'n' Munster are Liars

    Does Mittens mention the FACT that his party has done everything it can to hold back our economic recovery so it can then blame President Obama?

    Because that's what has been happening – and all but the unthinking GOP base knows this, and will vote accordingly.

    Obama/Biden 2012 = 30 straight months of private sector job growth in SPITE of the Repubs!

    September 17, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  22. Ross

    I am a registered, and pretty staunch supporter, of the Republican party. Unfortunately, Mitt is going to lose to Obama. Obama is going to wipe the floor with him. Mitt does not have the persona, charisma, or appeal that President Obama has. It is true, and I see it now, that Gov. Romney does not have the down-to-earth, hokey, charismatic appeal that the President has. It's unfortunate, because I do believe that Romney can fix our broken country, but he won't win.

    September 17, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  23. columbus

    Just combining agencies doesn't shrink government, it just spends it with fewer departments. He's just as much big government as Obama. This is also an attempt to steer him away from making unpopular statements and politicizing during a a foreign affairs crisis. If he doesn't have the good sense to know that, without the party bosses telling him, how in the world is he going to perform as president? I would have thought the republicans could have brought a better candidate to the election. With dismal performance by Obama and the congress, they should have been able to make a slam dunk out of this election, instead........

    September 17, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. Rocket J Squirrel

    Retool.. This guy flips and flops like a fish in a boat. Time to throw him in the cooler ... Remember it was this party who left the next party with the BIG BILL and now they want to cut the programs that help people not the programs that keep getting the wealthy and Big Corporations even more wealthier. They are bent on taking this Country to a two class system. The have-nots and the haves.

    September 17, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  25. helix10461

    He is back! I almost forgot about him. Romney- say or do whatever to get elected. I will balance the budget, get everyone employed, make us number one again, free hea;lth care to all, defeat china, iran, syria, libya blah balh...... when someone asks how, hmmmm why don't we touch base after election. His motto is- I won't tell you anything unless you vote for me. Just like his tax record. His only base is small section of angry white (not all, most whites are very sensible folks) voters (basically ex-KKK, teabagger or some evangelicals,they are all the same with different names depending upon who they talk to)

    September 17, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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