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. MJ Taylor

    "Retool" is code for I can't multitask, need to cover up my foreign policy ineptitude, am prone to flip-flopping, and am ultimately, a bad choice for the highest office in the land.

    September 17, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. "Oust the House", vote a straight Dem ticket in 2012!

    Just flailing around in desperation, typical GOP fashion. They see the election starting to slip away and they are frantic.

    One day, MAYBE they will realize it is the neo-con message being rejected, not just the candidate.

    September 17, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Martin

    Romney, the only way ANY American should even consider voting for you is if you will actually tell Americans what you will do once elected.

    The snake oil salesman tactic of "try it, you'll like it, but sorry, no refunds" really isn't working for many Americans, especially when you won't tell them what you're claiming the snake oil will do for them.

    September 17, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. Calcommuter

    So after proving his foreign policy ignorance, he wont talk about that anymore. He wil go back to basics with economy, where his business closed businesses, put people out of work and shipped jobs overseas. Nice plan!

    September 17, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. Tao

    Really. Abject hatred not working for you Mitt?

    September 17, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. Saboth

    Republican policies increased the deficit by over 5 trillion compared to 980 billion under Obama. How exactly are they running on "balancing the budget" along with "tax cuts that will help the rich and hurt the middle class"? Oh, tax cuts on the wealthy, while cutting funding to Medicare and social safety net programs. I see. Is there a point at which we'll accept the rich are "doing fine?" Romney is a businessman in the same way I'm a food expert. I fill my own belly until I'm full, then belch. His "business" was making as much money for himself and Bain as possible, while laying off people and closing companies, then hiding the money in offshore accounts and tax havens. Not the type of "business" I think America should be in.

    September 17, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. g

    he,s going retroactive again

    September 17, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. Don

    Here we go again! Now he will start from scratch ....

    September 17, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. Jay

    Typical CNN comments. It's sad because everyone is so partisan they are willing to back Obama through anything. He won't even address the nation concerning the riots in the middle east because he thinks it could e bad for his campaign. He needs to stop focusing on his campaign and focus on what's good for the country.

    LOOK AT EUROPE, that's where Obama has us heading. 70% tax rates. Everything socialized. No one can care for themselves. Is that what we want???

    September 17, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. Junior

    Romney has no message except complaints. No personal DETALED plans to fix or do anything. Sorry bud, going to have to bring something to the table besides whining.

    September 17, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. Chris Caldon

    I think that Mitt Romney as our president would bring a level of leadership this country hasn't sren since Reagan and with what is happening overseas this country needs & deserves that. Not a president that apologizes for our country but one that stands up for our country!
    I'm just saying...Chris C

    September 17, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. Scott

    Mitts (In our pocket) Robmey's message.

    "I have to win! I have lots of people in the 1% I have to pay back...."

    September 17, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. annieL

    I know how to balance my family's budget, too, but that doesn't qualify me to make Congress balance the federal budget in a way that satisfies powerful special interests AND millions of American citizens from all walks of life. And BTW, when I balance my family's budget, if we don't have enough income to pay rising medical costs, the mortgage and rising utilities, the kid's rising college tuition, and savemore for retirement anticipating inflation, we have to increase revenue. For Romney, that just means "raise taxes on the wealthiest" but for us that means "work more hours" however we can, "go back to college" while working to change careers, and/or work years past 65.

    September 17, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  14. Mike

    The headline should read "again", because Romney's etch-a-sketch campaign has tried to refocus on the economy multiple times already and his base will not let him.

    The economy is the most important issue, and the economy has been recovering from a GOP disaster for 30 consecutive months now.

    Is the country better off now than it was four years ago? I'd say averaging 150k jobs a month and 2% GDP is undoubtedly better than -9% GDP and losing 750,000 jobs a month. To say otherwise is simply a lie and exposes motives that would sabotage our economy for political gain.

    September 17, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. Monty

    Romney is to retool his campaign, he is a tool! He reminds me of a mortician, how he looks.

    He IS a mortician. He's killed every business he touched!

    September 17, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Webspy2012

    WOW flip flop on OWN message!!!

    September 17, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. us_1776

    The Romney tool is retooling.

    I get it.


    September 17, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. GMP

    ROMNEY IS A JOKE!!! Been a republican my entire life, but this will be the first time i refuse to vote or vote across lines.

    September 17, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. JustSayNo

    Here is a question. If Paul Ryan is so confident of winning the election why is he still campaigning to keep his current job in Wisconsin?

    September 17, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Dave

    The problem isn't with Romney's message. The problem is with Romney. He is simply an arrogant, loud-mouthed flip-flopper who will say anything to get elected. This perception of him isn't going to change no matter what he does.

    September 17, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. child of midian

    Mitt Romney: My opinions change with each direction of the political wind.

    September 17, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Anchorite

    So if the right is for balanced budgets and free enterprise, why did the libertarian Cato Institute take a position in favor of the auto bailouts when both parties were against it?

    September 17, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. ryantorgeson

    Game over, bro!

    September 17, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. Mike from KC

    Of course he balanced the budget every year he was Governor of Massachusetts. The law in Massachusetts required it. That doesn't mean he did it.

    Unless he is able to pull something new from his backside, I don't see anything that he could come up with that will give him the edge in the election.

    September 17, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. Nick Danger

    Is this the part where they shake the Etch-A-Sketch?

    September 17, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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