- Fla. Rep. Alan Grayson’s wife drops restraining order against him
- McDonald’s lawsuits filed over wages ‘stolen’ like Hamburglar steals Big Macs
- HUMPHRIES: Fight like a Democrat – An open letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell
- Florida board member shocks with ‘Heil Hitler’ salute at town meeting
- Bill O’Reilly, Chris Matthews inducted into Irish America Hall of Fame
- Military given ‘execute order’ by Obama for secret cyber mission in June
- College group’s diversity event canceled after excluding white people
- Cops: 2 shoot up heroin as kids play at McDonald’s
- Drug charges against husband of Va. daycare owner
- USS Kidd sent to Indian Ocean after ‘indication’ of Malaysian jet crash
Romney’s message largely in tact: Jobs, jobs, jobs
Nuance added to addresses
DOSWELL, Va. — Subtract the jokes about corn qualifying as amber waves of grain, and Mitt Romney’s basic message to voters — captured in his standard 20-minute stump speech — remains remarkably the same today as it was a year ago in the frozen cornfields of Iowa: He’s the government turnaround artist the country has been waiting for.
The primary debates and some of his addresses to interest groups produced some of his more memorable lines over the past year, such as his self-labeling as “severely conservative,” but when it comes to the image Mr. Romney projects when he has the mic to himself and is speaking unfiltered to a crowd, he’s delivering essentially the same message in the late-fall sunshine of Virginia this week as he did in the snowy fields of Iowa and hamlets of New Hampshire a year ago.
“We have two very different courses for America: trickle-down government or prosperity through freedom,” Mr. Romney said at a campaign stop in Colorado last month. “And trickle-down government that the president proposes is one where he will raise taxes on small business, which will kill jobs. I instead want to keep taxes down on small business so we can create jobs. This is about good jobs for the American people.”
Many Democrats and even some Republicans predicted Mr. Romney would pivot toward the political middle after the bruising GOP primaries. But instead he’s added nuance, expanding what used to be a relatively short stump speech laden with blunt broadsides against Mr. Obama into a more carefully parsed description of his early days in office.
He still promises to repeal “Obamacare” — the president’s signature health care law — but now includes some details about what parts he thinks should be kept intact. And he criticizes the Wall Street regulations that Mr. Obama signed into law, but allows that government does have a role to play in overseeing businesses.
“We have to have regulations,” Mr. Romney said at a campaign stop Wednesday in Coral Cables, Fla. “You can’t have business work if there are not regulations and laws.”
Stylistically, Mr. Romney has cut down a standard part of his primary-season stump speech, when he talked about “American hymns” such as his quip about “America the Beautiful” and its reference to “amber waves of grain.” Instead, he’s added in a touching story about attending a Boy Scouts award ceremony where the troop flew an American flag that was sent up on the Space Shuttle Challenger and miraculously survived the 1986 explosion.
After securing the Republican nomination, Mr. Romney trimmed some of the red meat he used to toss to partisans, such as accusing Mr. Obama of gathering “inspiration from the capitals of Europe.”
And in the final days of the campaign, he’s begun peppering his speeches with references back to his term as Massachusetts governor, saying that as governor he had to work with large Democratic majorities in the legislature to control spending and balance his state budget.
“We’re going to have to work together,” Mr. Romney said in Virginia on Thursday. “These are critical times. This is an election of consequence. This is an election where — where I think we’re not going just shape the country for four years, but for a generation. And so it’s important that we have a president who understands how to work across the aisle.”
Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said Mr. Romney wanted to show conservatives in the primary that, when push comes to shove, he would stand up for their principles. Since then, he has taken his argument a step forward, telling crowds that he will work with “good Democrats” to try to get things done in Washington.
“We are looking at two messages,” Mr. O’Connell said. “The first message is, ‘I can make America recover faster than President Obama, and on balance my policies will leave Americans better off over the next four years.’ That is the principled part. The practical part is that, ‘To execute my plans, I will work across party lines to sell my ideas and to solve America’s most pressing problems.’”
Along the way, he has boiled the 59-point economic plan he introduced over a year ago down to five points that he lists at every campaign stop.
The rejiggered message, though, was slow to get off the ground, drowned out over the summer by the campaign’s own missteps, Clint Eastwood’s infamous chair routine at the Republic National Convention and the Obama camp’s aggressive effort to label Mr. Romney as out-of-touch rich guy over the television airwaves.
Some Republicans openly worry that the Romney camp should have responded faster to team Obama’s summer ad blitz, which framed Mr. Romney as a corporate robber baron. Others say the campaign did not have the money to get its message out — thanks to rules governing the ways general election funds are used.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Sarah Palin endorses Ben Sasse in Nebraska GOP primary
- Florida election emblematic of new reality of money
- David Jolly wins in Florida, GOP keeps swing district seat
- Hard-fought congressional election in Florida is seen as a bellwether
- Former Iowa GOP chief takes post with Rand Paul PAC
Latest Blog Entries
- Most New Jersey voters say Gov. Chris Christie lied
- Political handicapper: GOP poised to win House seats in 2014
- Axelrod: Christie can recover from the bridge scandal
- ACLJ: Appointment of Obama supporter to lead IRS probe 'troubling'
- Americans support minimum wage increase, extending jobless benefits: poll
TWT Video Picks
By Emily Miller
Obama is losing the debate on gun ownership, concealed-carry permits
- USS Kidd sent to Indian Ocean after 'indication' of Malaysian jet crash
- Oil rig worker says he saw missing plane go down: report
- F-35 secrets now showing up in Chinas stealth fighter
- Cops: 2 shoot up heroin as kids play at McDonald's
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- MILLER: Law enforcement realizes good people with guns deter crime
- Details on ships, planes searching for missing jet
- GOP bill tries to pull courts into fight with Obama on executive power, enforcing laws
- College group's diversity event canceled after excluding white people
- NRA shirt gets N.Y. high school student suspended
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again