- Published on Wednesday, 03 October 2012 00:52
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Mitt Romney’s campaign is in trouble. The polls, nationwide, but especially in the swing states, are moving slowly, but steadily in the President’s direction. Just a month ago it seemed like Mitt Romney’s election to lose and now that seems to be what he is doing. Remarkably, for a man who has been centered and focused in all he has done in his life the Republican candidate seems lost. However, there is still a month to go in this campaign and a lot can happen. History has proven that. Having said that, I am not going to offer the GOP candidate any advice, instead, I asked a number of people, several strong Romney supporters, some hardcore Democrats, and at least one person who isn’t sure how they’re going to vote, what advice they would personally give Mitt Romney. Just as if they were on the phone talking to him.
Several of the people I talked to noted the Republican nominee’s unfortunate commentary, supposedly at a private fundraiser, where he talked about the 47%. Those two or three minutes of rambling commentary could be one of the most damaging political remarks in recent political history. As one person said, “…stop saying stupid things even if you think they are private remarks.” Another said, don’t say anything that isn’t scripted or that you haven’t rehearsed. You don’t do well with off the cuff remarks.”
However, while chiding Romney about his 47%, one of the folks I talked too said “…you need to move on …don’t let them provide the narrative… hammer without stopping, the fiscal conservative message. You don’t have to be negative…but you have to position yourself as the fiscal conservative who can fix the economy.” And yes, this was a Democrat I was talking to.
Another, this one a Republican, suggested that Romney do fewer campaign events with his spouse, and instead get her out on a female talking tour. They think he has a good record with women’s issues, would appeal to women, but perhaps Romney’s wife is better equipped to talk directly to women than is the GOP candidate. Romney has trouble talking about women’s issues, but Mrs. Romney, as she has shown, can. They noted how well Mrs. Obama had presented a similar message, on behalf of her husband, to women’s groups in her own personal campaigning. Though this statistic might have moved since it was released in early September Obama, currently enjoys a 14% lead in female voters. This is a big gap.
Another, an avowed independent with Republican leanings, felt that Romney still looked like the candidate of the rich and didn’t seem all that interested in the middle class voter. And they made a good closing point, “…you need to do a better job of reaching out to the middle class voter because they’re always the majority.” That’s good advice, and unfortunately for Romney a recent poll said that 57% of prospective voters felt that Romney was more representative of the wealthy than he was of the middle class. That may or may not fair, but maybe the GOP instead of focusing on its newly coined phrase, “job creators” needs to focus a little more on people who have jobs or run small businesses who are finding it harder and harder to “stay” in the middle class. They seem to be the ones deciding this election.
Another simply said, “First keep banging on about the economy and avoid foreign policy gaffes like you did in your visit to Israel or after the murder of our ambassador…it’s the economy stupid.” Seems to me we’ve heard that before and from a candidate who provided a lot of distractions. Bill Clinton, in 1992, had affairs in his background as well as questions arising from his efforts to avoid military service, and, oh yes, there were concerns over his wife’s financial dealings. This should have been enough to derail a campaign. Instead, he relentlessly focused on the economy, which was actually better than it is now, and defeated an incumbent. It’s still hard to figure out why this GOP contender can’t do that.
Another respondent, a Republican, with a lot of experience in government, was more in depth, “You need to say how you are going to reduce the deficit and improve the economy. If you focus in on those areas, with new and creative ideas, you will attack Obama where he is weak – the performance of the economy – and demonstrate that you have serious solutions which will set you apart from Obama’s perceived inability to move from the poetry of campaigning to the prose of government.”
Another just didn’t have much positive advice to offer saying, “…until people can forget how attractive Obama is and focus on how tough their own lives are, you don’t stand a chance. Right now they have to learn to focus of themselves and how bad our foreign policy is and forget the pie in the sky Obama promises. It’s really discouraging.” Another Republican, put it this way. “You are just too nice. You need to get into the specifics and the failures of our current President.”
While some of my Democratic friends felt that the tide was turning their way no one in this highly unscientific focus group thought the race was over. They have a point. There are still the debates and four weeks of campaigning to go. Both campaigns, but especially Romney, have boatloads of money to spend before Election Day. However, it’s clear, that while there may be a lot of discontent with the President, the GOP nominee has yet to define his issue, namely the economy, nor to convince voters that he is the one to fix it.