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. TheVoice2

    Mitt Phony is etcha-sketching his campaing message and flip-flop it.

    His motto "make President now and I'll give you details later"

    His Plan: tax cuts for the rich, deregulation of Wall Street, expand military budget, destroy medicare, and more tax cuts for the rich

    September 17, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Gary

    Well, another day and yet another Romney position. I'd hate to shave that many faces every morning......

    September 17, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Latonia

    I hope the latinos that listen to him about making it easier for them to obtain residency instead of citizenship means you pay taxes but you don't have the right to vote, trust my husband is a permanent resident and he has to do everything citizens do but NO right to vote. Please don't listen to him he's not for anyone but himself. He liked the sound and power the presidency brings nothing else.

    September 17, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. SKKKKooool

    lol. This mitt guy is a clown.

    September 17, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  5. rs

    Mr. Romney's fundamental problems as a Presidential candidate are:
    He doesn't stand for anything.
    If he does take a stand on an issue or policy, just wait. He'll change that within a 24-hour news cycle.
    He pathologically cannot tell the truth, about our nation's problems, his positions or his opponent.
    He has no specific plans, and speaks only in generalities, usually without facts.
    His outlook on foreign affairs is truly scary- he is clueless and would have the country involved in any number of GW Bush-like wars if elected. Wars, BTW that your sons and daughters will fight, but never his children, or the children of the very rich.
    Mr. Romney IS what is wrong in America.

    September 17, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  6. Rick

    Hey, I got an idea for retooling. Get another canidate! I am a republican and I am sick and tired of this clown,

    September 17, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  7. emmy

    That Etch-a-Sketch is going to be worn our by November.

    September 17, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. "Oust the House", vote a straight Dem ticket in 2012!

    Sorry, Myth, but a President does not get a "do over".

    The fact your campaign needs one with less than 2 months to go, does not speak well of either your organizational or managerial skills.

    September 17, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. chilly g

    mitt mitt mitt, you want to deport all kids who came here when they were babies by they parents thru no fork of there
    on but you still want to punish them, now you want to to ask for they vote,you have no shame mitt and you will
    not be president of the usa because you don't stand for anything thr president wioll win and we all will have a big party.

    September 17, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. emmy

    That Etch-a-Sketch is going to be worn out by November.

    September 17, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. tepeters

    It does signify a problem at this point in the race to retool. So he wants to concentrate on the message of his skill at balancing the budget. But then will come the inevitable question to Mr. No-Details-How are you going to do it?

    September 17, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. Sheri Lee

    Is that retooling or Refooling himself, for those anybody but Obama.

    September 17, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. Chumlee

    Too late MitWit – you have already exposed your real self, and it aint pretty.

    Pack up, kiss everyone good bye, and move to wherever you have your off-shore accounts. We will not miss you. Although in all honesty MitWit, you should honor the country you live in, represent, and wanted to lead. You are an example of the biggest tax cheat in the country – and hid revenue to avoid PAYING TAXES. You are anti-American!

    September 17, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. Michael

    Mittens is quite resourceful in finding new ways to embarrass himself and the GOP. If such a trait were actually desirable in a president, he'd already have won the election.

    September 17, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. Eric F

    I *promise* you...if this man is elected, he will be a Mormon first, president second. I'm from Massachusetts. I know what he tried to do here.

    September 17, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. Iowa

    Romney and his viewa on issues are a joke. He has no sympathy for brave men doing their job in the Middle East, for hard working blue collar men and women in the US, but he sure loves throwing jobs at Southeast Asia to save bigwigs money.

    Romney is not presidential material, but no Republican has since Eisenhower.

    September 17, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. macbil


    Start reading what conservative media, pundits, and Republicans are saying and starting to distance themselves from him because they think he's going to lose...like: The Wall Street Journal, David Frum, Peggy Noonan, Joe Scarborough, Mark Salter, Trent Lott, John Huntsman, etc.

    September 17, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. Pete

    Romney honestly would say citizens you know how you took billions to bail out your debacles at the Olympics,your governorship in Massachusetts being a momentus failure with your destroying files and papers that could have gotten you jailed and you rejecting questions about your past tax returns but asking your nominees for 10 years or more...Please Romney explain how your religion let's you lie and says its for the best of the Mormon church no matter who it hurts...Explain as a bishop how you told a young expecting single woman that she'd have to turn over her newborn if she didn't want excommunication from the church threatening her and also telling her there's no place in Mormon town for single parents,we don't want them here he says they're irresponsible!!And their extreme plan against abortion of any kind even if a woman's life is concerned,the fetus always comes first no matter what!!Explain how you borrowed millions for Bain from the FDIC and never paid it back,30 million if I remember right!!Or how you secretly have calls going to Bibi Netanyahu asking for help with Pres.Obamas handling of the middle east,what you should do if you were in the presidents place,remember they were co workers at Boston Capital years ago!!Romney there's just too much dirty stuff about you for being a president and I thought McCain,Bushs pasts were bad,you've got the prize and the one thing you're not getting is the presidency,have fun,keep spending that United Citizens money,they're ignorent,corrupt as well !!

    September 17, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. Anonymous


    There is no messaging problem with Romney,

    Stop whining and start facing facts. Your party picked this man to represent you. He's failing that task and any number of other tasks. That's HIS fault ... not the media's fault. Not the Democrats fault. Not the moderates fault. Not the Latinos fault. And so forth. And so forth. And so forth. Heck, your own party didn't want him during the primaries. Why expect America would now want him as our President any more than the majority of you did back during the primaries?

    September 17, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. drumb47

    Seems a little late in the game to fire your advisers in what seems to be a vain attempt at retooling your mix messages.
    The American electoric are not stupid. Mitt and Ryan are coming across as pair of flim-flam men.

    September 17, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. johnny popper

    the wrong guy is retooling his message.

    September 17, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. Keyser

    Retooling??? No. I think they have the perfect tools as candidates already.

    September 17, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. LouieD

    "Gotta balance the budget. You gotta cut the deficit"

    All while needlessly cutting taxes for the wealthy and spending an extra $2 trillion on defense. Has never worked before, won't work now. Mitt-Flopper would make a better grave digger than President, judging by how well he keeps digging his own.

    September 17, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  24. Joe

    Politicians have to actually pick which lies they want to use and readjust to new lies when necessary.

    September 17, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    myviewis – making stuff up

    And what do you think of Obama claiming he created 1,100 jobs because he increased tariff on China on Chinese tire imports yet he fails to mention that those tire imports were replaced by tire imports from Mexico, Indonesia and Thailand as per Fact Check???????
    So. Fewer tires from China, and more tires from other places. Still created 1,100 US jobs.

    Romney told us, "You're on your own." I say, "Leave Romney alone."

    September 17, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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