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. southexas

    What's to retool ? He has lost some much credibility that not even my 2 chihuahua dogs will not vote him.

    September 17, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. metekrop


    September 17, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Ritti

    Says he can balance a budget, but won’t release his tax returns. Attacks Obama’s foreign policy right after losing American lives to angry rioters. All over a senseless film that is completely unrelated to the Obama administration’s foreign policy, making himself look like an idiot. Says he’s against public healthcare but wasn’t when he was governor. Purchased American companies under Bain Capital, then outsourced their jobs or absorbed all the assets before placing the burden on the American tax payer by filing bankruptcy and raking in millions for his company and himself. Yea, he can balance a budget… for a company robbing and pillaging everything they can, and leaving the rest in ruin. The question every voter needs to ask themselves before sending in their ballot this November is who of us will benefit and who of us will be left in ruin?

    September 17, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. gregory21

    When are politicions going to stop using that stuppid line , I ran a buisness, so I know how to run the gov't. The house and senate Spend the money and screw everthing up.

    September 17, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Craig RB

    Romney's only economic message is to lower taxes on the rich which the middle class will pay for. That's it.

    September 17, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. Namejkane sfl a vote for the gop will cut your moms medicare and soc sec .can you afford to pay for them???

    Ya, you balanced the budget in mass ,and left the new gov a one. Billion dallar defict ,I know ,I was there and you couldn't get realected with a 30%approval rating . Failed at everything without gov bailout or robbing pensions or health insurance from the companies you raided and where's your tax returns ,worst gop ticket ever with two liers and a tax cheat and Ryan the bribe taker in his home state ,60,000 for a casino licence ,explain please lyin Ryan ????

    September 17, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. GBfromOhio

    How many ways can you retool "Obama is bad, I'm giving tax breaks to the job creators"? Hw won't show us his tax returns or tell us how he is going to affect OUR tax returns.

    September 17, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. JC in Western US

    Eight weeks left, and Romney starts over (again). Another "do over" is not going to make things any more clear. It's starting to look like Romney's just throwing out choices to see what sinks and what floats.

    Is this evidence of great leadership, great planning, and great focus? I don't think so.

    September 17, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. Anthony

    Where did mitt balance any budget? It took years for MASS to fix the problems Romney created, as a matter of fact it took 6 years for the budget to be fixed after romney left as governor. ALL OLYMPIC BILLS were paid by US tax dollars. and COMBINDING AGENCIES? that sure sound like he will be feeding the printer a lot of pink papers.

    September 17, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. Hank

    REFOCUSING and RE-SPINNING isn't going to help alexithymic Mitt anymore--even his Team knows it.

    September 17, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  11. phenoy

    "Retooling" is another term for "flip-flop". Good job Mittens, at least you are consistent about one thing and that is flip-flop all the time.

    September 17, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. T

    How many times is this guy going to change his campaign message?.......oh, that's right, he's a FLIP FLOPPER....LOL

    September 17, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. j.j. in c.a.

    romney's ideas for fixing the economy are unworkable. cutting taxes for the 1% and doubling the military budget? that's his plan? oh, and remove all regulations from wall street and the big banks. start a trade war with china. restrict women's access to contraceptives so the poor will have more mouths to feed and the emergency rooms will be even more over crowded. cut social programs, fire teachers, firefighters and police. all these ideas are guaranteed to make things worse.

    September 17, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. GrampaSez

    Nearly every comment here is anti-Romney, 99 to 1.

    That PROVES Romney doesn't have a chance – according to the CNN filter that decides which comments to display.

    September 17, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. metekrop

    Sir, it is better now that you support OBAMA for the good of this country. You are lost. Etch sketch now again retooling..loughable

    September 17, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. johnny popper

    Maybe CNN can headline that our President is making public statements in direct conflict with our state department's confirmed position as to who is our allie and who isn't? Isn't this a bigger gaffe than a candidate reiterating our state department's official position? Again, the pro Democrat bias of the media is glaring.

    September 17, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. Money Good Obama Baaaad

    Romney's simplistic economic messages to the 99%:

    Money for Me
    None for Thee

    September 17, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Yeah, Mitt. You spent the last 6 months lying to us, dodging us, and mocking us. Now you're telling us to TRUST you ... ?

    September 17, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. DandyStyker

    Romney says he "knows how to balance budgets."

    Well, guess what? Guys that drive companies into bankruptcy, like Romney did, *don't* know how to balance budgets at all.

    September 17, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  20. pnclaw

    @Miyafuji Yoshika. Romney does not need your dollar. He gave over 3+million times of what you hold dear of that 1 dollar to charity. He closed the whole company to help search for the 14 year old daughter of an associate who went missing, he sat with a dying leakemia boy and helped him write a will so he could give his favorite baseball bat to his best friend, he did not take pay from Mass when he was a governor, he honored his commitment to serve overseas while he was madly in love with Ann whom he married shortly after he came back., and more. Touching stories you did not see from the main media. Did you believe the Obama campaign's lie about the lying former employed who claimed that his wife died of cancer because Romney closed down the steel mill? Did you not know that she had her own insurance for 2 years after the co closed, and she died 8 years after? What is it that you dont trust Romney besides you bought the deceipt brought to you by the Obama campaign? Romeny is the perfect person. I want a replacement of the current president who broke so many campaign promises, and yet is making the same ones all over again. We are 16 trillions in debt. We need a new course.
    With all the good characters of Romeny, we are not worshipping a leader whom we think can do no wrong. We want a "trustworthy" leader to lead, not an idol.
    At the DNC what I saw was the supporters propping up an "idol" whom they think can do no wrong, no questions asked. As Joe Biden said to the adulating crowd, "isn't he incredible!"

    September 17, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. MateoinUtah

    reading these and other comments, I have to believe that Romney's "fans" are incredulous to the fact that he's been floundering as of late. They blame the "liberal media" LOL. To these people everything is a conspiracy.

    September 17, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. Rick

    Retooling, Yet another word for flip flop...Just like all of a sudden he's for the middle class. This guy has no shame!

    September 17, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Just the fact he used the word "RETOOl," that alone is going to loose him the election.

    September 17, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. Larry

    Another "etch-a-sketch" moment for old Mittens. He's stumbling big time. Good.

    September 17, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. cleareye1

    It now seems that the Republicans chose Romney because he LOOKS like a good candidate, not because he is one. He offers no clear solutions to domestic problems, no better way to deal with foreign affairs, in short he is the proverbial empty suit with good looking hair. He promises a rerun of the Bush fiasco. Who in their right mind who want that?

    September 17, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
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