Some Romney backers still frustrated with state of campaign
September 21st, 2012
01:06 PM ET
10 years ago

Some Romney backers still frustrated with state of campaign

Washington (CNN) - Some financial backers of Mitt Romney's campaign are still not happy with some of its messaging and execution but hope the recently announced adjustments it is enacting will help make the race more competitive.

"I wish he would continue to show who he is…I think he is holding back," one major bundler, a person who raises a large amount of money for the campaign, told CNN when asked about Romney as a candidate. "I am a little frustrated."

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Specifically, this bundler who requested anonymity in order to frankly discuss his views of the Romney campaign, said he thought the nominee should be talking more about his business background and his skills and also be more aggressive in his messaging.

This bundler who said some of his concerns are shared by other financial supporters of the campaign summarized his mood as: "worried that we are in jeopardy of losing this thing but optimistic we are still in striking distance."

The view is not shared by all of the financial backers.

"I am not concerned," major bundler John Catsimatidis, who is chairman and CEO of the Red Apple Group, a grocery store chain, told CNN. He said Romney "is a level headed guy. He knows how to create jobs."

He doesn't think the problems the campaign encountered this week will be that important and said one key for Romney is his experience. Asked about the changes implemented by the campaign he said "I think they understand what they have to do."

But for those who are frustrated one point they raise is that Romney in the last few weeks has not been more active on the stump but has been fund-raising - something that is about to change as the pace of campaigning is expected to pick up substantially, aides have promised.

"He needs to be out," said the bundler who had requested anonymity.

On conference calls with donors, Romney campaign officials this week pointed to national polls now showing the race dead even and while some polls in battleground states showed President Obama with a lead they also said they were within striking distance.

"There is an opportunity" said one financial supporter. "Definitely not too late…it is not time to write this off."

Acknowledging it may put a lot of pressure on the candidate, several supporters told CNN the upcoming debates are the key - the best opportunity for Romney to change the trajectory of the race as he goes toe to toe with the president as he challenges him on the administration's record and who has the best proposals to spur the economy going forward.

One thing several of the people told CNN they thought was essential was for the nominee to show a more aggressive stance towards the president – more direct criticism of his economic record and question the specific impact on voters if he is re-elected.

"The candidate himself has to challenge the president," said the bundler who spoke to CNN.

Senior campaign aides conducted a series of conference calls with donors this week talking about how they would adjust their message by being more specific in describing Romney's economic proposals and also worked to reassure these key supporters things were fine.

"The polls are deceiving, and we really are doing a lot better than some of the polls are saying," is how bundler John Catsimatidis summarized one message coming from Friday's call.

Any lingering concerns and frustrations of the donors and bundlers could be answered by the campaign's top insiders at a retreat next month in New York.

You can follow Kevin Bohn on Twitter @KevinBohnCNN.

Filed under: 2012 • Fundraising • Mitt Romney
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. G Foster

    Translation. The big GOP campaign donors are in full panick mode and ready to clobber Romney if he doesn't make a miraculous turnaround very soon following all the unforced gaffes.

    September 21, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  2. Peter

    I'm sure Romney can invent some things that will sound believable enough to bring him back into the race.

    September 21, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |

    How great it will be when Obama wins and the gazillion-aire donors (Koch brothers, Addelson, etc.) lose every penny of their "we can buy a President" project. Not too many real businessmen will be real happy when their hundreds of millions of dollars are flushed down the wingnut toilet.

    September 21, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. dman

    To say that Obama is ignoring what is happening in the Middle East is a joke. What is happening in the Middle East is the same thing that has been happening for decades. If you think an American President can stop it, you are a fool. Could Regan stop 200 Marines from dying in Lebanon? Could Bush stop almost 3000 Americans from dying on 9/11. If Obama is responsible for these deaths, then Regan and Bush are responsible for those deaths.

    September 21, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. georgie

    Frustrated? I can't imagine why? The dude has been running for the presidency for over 6 years and still hasn't managed to spend enough or talk well enough to convince over half of us that he is the right guy for the job. This in spite of the fact that we currently have the worst president since Jimmy Carter.

    September 21, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. nvtncs

    Romney needs to be consistent; he is all over the map on any issue.

    September 21, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. Solat

    with all of the spin and back biting going on, one thing is getting lost in this election, and that is the economy. No democrat in history has been able to fix a recession simply because liberal economic policies cannot spark growth. having the government control spending takes the power out of the consumers hands. For example; Obama received $1.3 trillion in stimulus from congress. Every penny was controlled by the government via projects. Those projects were short term and inflated. the entire stimulus was issued to companies who bid on these projects, which means that the wealthiest people in america were the ones controlling the funds. Had a republican been issued the same amount we would have seen $1.3 trillion issued to the american public in the form of stimulus checks. those funds would have only gone to the middle and lower class (ie. 2001 and 2007). a $1.3 trillion cash infusion into the economy would have done far more than what Obama did. As consumers we would have bought products, invested, or saved with it. When that happens manufacturing goes up, jobs are saved and created, and the banking system would get some relief. We cannot make this mistake again. I am not a big fan of Romney. Personally I think he is fake. However, his party policies are far better for the american people in the current economy than the alternative. We need to think of our future, and increasing the debt ceiling, borrowing more from China, and spending it like we can just make more is irresponsible. Romney gets my vote, simply because I cannot stand the thought of being out of work again and seeing my kids suffer because I can't make ends meet.

    September 21, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. NoKidding

    ""I wish he would continue to show who he is…I think he is holding back,"
    Har har har!!! He had been showing who he is, DUH!!! and that is the problem!!!

    September 21, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. ivan bial

    Let's see if I understand the logic being used by Mr. Romney.
    When he was being vetted by Senator McCain as a possible VP running mate he produced 20 years of income tax returns. Now that he is a candidate for President, a much higher office then VP, he only will show one year of tax returns.
    Senator McCain has stated Ms Palin was a better choice. It leads me to believe whatever was in those tax returns disqualified Mr. Romney as a VP candidate.
    The only reason Mr. Romney will not show what he already showed Senator McCann is he learned his lesson in 2008.
    Mr. Romney knows what is in his taxes means an end to his bid for President.
    If the shoe was on the other foot how would the Fox News crowd be treating Obama if he refused to release Tax records like past candidates?

    Just think about this:
    After vetting Mr. Romney and reviewing his tax returns, John McCain decided Sara Palin was a better V.P. candidate.
    Let me say that again John McCain decided Sara Palin was a better V.P. candidate then Mitt Romney.
    Need anyone say more..

    September 21, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. C Bauer

    "I wish he would continue to show who he is…I think he is holding back."

    I wish he would show who BARACK OBAMA is. He is definitely holding that back.

    September 21, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. andrew

    Have you noticed how republicans always refuse to give their names? They're like drunk snipers hiding in the bushes. And when they say things that cause firestorms they 'take it back' real quick. It happens daily. They're the most mixed-up and confusing people I've ever seen. They appear cowardly and to have permanent dementia. It's as if they don't remember how they screwed-up yesterday and so they deny they did until we show them proof. Then, they retract and rephrase, and then here they go again.

    September 21, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. SurRy

    Hey, what happened to Mittens? Looks so pale in this pic. Is he ill? He was dark brown in Miami just a few days ago.

    September 21, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. PaulCat

    A level headed buy – yes, he is for sale.

    September 21, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  14. Dawn

    Seriously people, Romney is like a Wolf in Sheep's clothing.
    Listening to him on the campaign trail only reinforces that he is out of touch with the average working person.
    He lacks compassion. I find it laughable, that it's only after the tape was released he is now caring about the 100%, how disingenuous.
    For those with blinders on, please take them off. This is a wake up call for Romney not to be voted into Office.
    He insulted hard working people on being tax evaders. The nerve, when he himself has been cheating the system.
    He really needs to show his TAX RETURNS. So much for being Patriotic. President Obama is more of a man that Romney will ever be. Romney is a Hypocrite.

    September 21, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  15. Andrew

    A donation for Romney is like buying stock in a company that is going under faster than the Edmund Fitzgerald in November of 75. This is why he is raising half the $$ that Obama is. Obama 2012, Clinton/Castro 2016! Forward not backward

    September 21, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. Mike

    Who is the media trying to convince with all these ads about Romney's campaign falling apart, or supporters dropping out? The people who are voting for Obama made that decision a long time ago and aren't going to change their minds. The people who aren't going to vote never would have in the first place. That leaves everyone else – and they are going to vote against Obama no matter who is running in opposition. All this fluff about Romney has already been factored out of the equation during the Primaries. Romney's not losing any supporters, and Obama isn't gaining any. Anyone who's still on the fence isn't showing up on Election Day anyway. The media needs to stop manufacturing this crap to try and convince people not to bother participating.

    September 21, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. Nick

    The Republican Party blew this election already. It actually may be done altogether if this is the best candidate they could drum up. Ron Paul would have been a much better selection. Hopefully the Tea Party idiots realize how dumb they are and everyone in the party starts realizing the Libertarian movement is the way to go. After 4 more years of Obama, I can see this country finally realizing it.

    September 21, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  18. rockysfan

    For all the job creator comments about Romney, just how many jobs did he create? He was at a fianancial investment firm, since when do they "create" jobs? Everything I've read just shows him shipping jobs over seas. So, is it the overseas jobs he supposedly created? Please!

    September 21, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. Obama's America 2016

    Gotta Be Kiddin

    Obama's America 2016

    Obama just ignoring what's happening in the middle east. Proof is the fact that Americans are dying in our embassy's because of this administrations ignorance.

    So whose ignorance was responsible for the thousands who died on 9/11. Don't think you want to go there buddy! And let's not forget all those who died in Kuwait during Reagan's administration.


    So according to your statement you are OK with Obama having done this? Bush was in office for 9 months when 9/11 happened? That would have to at least partially fall on Clinton also. But try to stay current also after all I thought you democrats were all about "FORWARD".

    September 21, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  20. 2012liberal

    What's wrong whinners? U dont like romneys $25,000-$250,000 bonuses he's giving to staffers! I'm just saying i'd b d@*§ed if i let this man hv our countries purse strings. What a joke!

    September 21, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  21. Go Obama!!

    Mitts has just annouced he's going to release his FULL 2011 tax return!! I guess the doctoring is now complete and he thinks it looks good enough to impress voters now! Is it me or is Mitts getting really, really, really, desperate now??

    September 21, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  22. Obama's America 2016


    truth hurts and Obama's America are telling us that you are not a legitimate human being.....maybe from kolob...hehehehe


    Your rhetoric and sheer stupidity is simply astounding. You're obviously a partial birth abortion that somehow survived.

    September 21, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  23. gary b. knapp

    Romney's skill is as a micro-economist, ie., he knows how to make a money with a company. He has no record as a macro-economist, ie., knowing how to operate an economy. His lack of specifics regarding his economic plan for the country probably means that, at a visceral level, he knows he is not a macro-economist and really does not understand macro-economics.

    September 21, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. Obama's America 2016

    Demcorats worst enemy is the truth.

    September 21, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  25. Marcus

    The tricky part is the more Mitt gets out and stops holding back,the more people dislike him.I'd almost guarantee the DNC has hours of stupid,thoughtless Mitt ramblings still to choose from for the last push.

    September 21, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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