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. Donkey Party

    NOTADEMOCRAT – Of course you aren't, you're too stupid and delusional to be anything other than the right-wing sub-human that you are. It's painfully obvious that you ignore facts (found in the "lamestream" media), and believe everything you hear on Fox and the real lamestream media, conservative radio. Simpleton.

    September 17, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. rs


    Reality IS hard work- you apparently don't know how to do that. You should try though- your screed is silly and fact-free.

    September 17, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. Sniffit

    This little piggy believes in magic free markets,
    This little piggy wants minority voters to stay home,
    This little piggy had liptsick,
    This little piggy had none.
    And this little piggy went...
    "Me me me" all the way home...

    September 17, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  4. bethjoyce

    @ NOTADEMOCRAT The embassey situation is complex, not simplistic. Although evidence points to a coordinated effort with regard to some of the attacks, there is no evidence pointing them to 911. 911 has been over for years.and those guys are either dead or at Guantanamo. Although Al Quieda may be responsible for some of these attacks, they associate themselves wtih the present and make no mention of 911.

    September 17, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. T'sah From Virginia

    ►"Gotta balance the budget. You gotta cut the deficit,"
    But Romney said this umpteen times in the past – we already heard this s*
    In reality, when he veered off this message we got a glimpse of what else is up his sleeves
    And that is what completely DESTROYED him and now whatever he says NO ONE believes!!

    When you LIE and it is very obvious you are LYING, you show your true self. And then Romney picks a #2 that LIES even more than him – America does not want a LIAR-in-CHIEF with a "boy-wondering if he's LYAN or NOT" VP!!

    Obama/Biden 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    September 17, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. Joan in MS

    Romney and Ryan cannot be trusted. Romney will lose this election if he does not release his tax returns. The American people will not allow such dishonesty and contempt from the GOP ticket.

    September 17, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. sonny chapman

    I love David Frum. Not in THAT way; but he's honest.

    September 17, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. ejktexas

    The balanced budget claims are a joke. Massachusetts constitution requires a balanced budget, so Mitt was simply following the law. He didn't raise individual income taxes, he simply raised "fees" to the tune of hundreds of millions. One such fee was handgun licenses, another was court filings, another was gasoline delivery taxes. He also raised corporate income taxes.

    Real succes as Governor: Gary Johnson for 8 years in New Mexico.

    September 17, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Nanny State Ray (GA) – 4.3 million jobs added, government smaller than Bush left it, but if the GOP puts a government agent in women's bedrooms that would be OK? The places without unions and bargaining rights for workers are third world: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, North Korea, China, South Carolina, Mississippi, and GA.

    September 17, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    It appears that the right wingnuts are even nastier than usual today. Is the failed campaign of a failed MA governor starting to kick in?

    September 17, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. Rey

    No matter how hard the wooden boy tries he will not be President until he becomes human.... and that does not seem very likely given what we've seen (or not seen) thus far..... all we see is his nose growning longer with each new assertion.... The new improved version = I'm better than Obama and this time it's true... just isn't going to cut it.

    September 17, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  12. Q

    Game Change 2 coming to a theater soon near you.

    September 17, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. robert jay1

    hello people – want 10 more years (or more) of wars and trillion dollar deficits while corporations make billions a quarter in profit – Romney / ryan are your people – wnata shot at prosperity and peace – Democrats from the whitehouse . in congress and in the senate Nothing less will protect us.

    September 17, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  14. Kevin

    "200k-250K", I'm still laughing at this.

    September 17, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. Kansas Farmer

    How long until Paul Ryan "goes rogue" in preparation for 2016?

    September 17, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. Anna

    He is throwing everthing to the wall to see what will stick.

    September 17, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  17. tess

    it's a great time to be a democrate if you want to live like russia , greece and all the communist countries that people flee from to live in freedom here. unfortunately, o'dumbo is trying to re-make america in their image. why doesn't he just move there and leave us alone – we LIKE who we are = if he doesn't = PLEASE GO AWAY!!!!!!!

    September 17, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  18. Vince

    Don't worry Mitt...go take a swim in your money pit and you'll feel better.

    September 17, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. Xman

    Romney retooling his message. What does that mean, exactly?

    I'd expect this Presidential candidate to have his message exactly where it needed to be, since the beginning. Example: Obama's message during the bout with Hillary for the nomination is largely the same message it is today, over 4 years later. Because his vision is much higher quality than Twit's.

    Romney can't get the right message out because he isn't the right man for this job. He doesn't show much honesty, hiding and lying behind his time at Bain ("retroactively retired" LOL) and the refusal to show his financial past (no tax returns) when the American people have demanded, reasonably, for both.

    The Twit should take his magic undies, his tax returns, and his loud mouthed wife and go back to Massachusetts. He is not fit for office.

    September 17, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. TheTraveler

    I guess Matt Rhoades and Karl Rove finally got through to Mitt, "Just read our script! Otherwise, keep your trap shut!".

    September 17, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  21. Poor Poor American

    voting for Obama. Romeny remarks has turn me away. He is scary..........

    September 17, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  22. Jim

    He better quit promising to keep portions of Obamacare or he will scare away existing support.

    September 17, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  23. Coop

    Romney is so flexible.

    He'll say or do anything to win !

    September 17, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  24. Jim

    Does Romney even try to keep track of all of the positions he's taken on anything, or does it just not matter to him?

    September 17, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  25. fletc3her

    Luckily his message is scrawled on his magic Etch-a-Sketch so he can just start over! Who will he be this time? Liberal republican who created the model for health care reform in Massachusetts, supported a women's right to choose, and helped implement gay marriage. Or, the new Romney who has always been pro-life, anti-gay, and thinks health care reform is destroying our great nation? What's next? Mitt Romney is actually Mexican? He was a bishop in the Mormon Church? Maybe his name isn't Mitt at all! but Willard or something absurd like that! The little wheels turn and the new message takes shape.

    September 17, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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