election 2012

The Romney Campaign Has Realized They Will Have to Talk About Things Besides the Economy

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) wave as Ryan is announced as his vice presidential running mate in front of the USS Wisconsin August 11, 2012 in Norfolk, Virginia. Ryan, a seven term congressman, is Chairman of the House Budget Committee and provides a strong contrast to the Obama administration on fiscal policy.
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Now that Mitt Romney’s convention bump has fizzled and the polls (including in supposed swing states like Florida and Ohio) seem to be moving firmly in President Obama’s favor, the Romney campaign is starting to think outside the “keep it to the economy” strategy box, according to Buzzfeed. “No one in Boston thinks this can only be about the economy anymore,” one top aide told the site. “The economy narrows the gap and puts us in contention, but we have to bring more to the table.”

What finally convinced Romney’s top advisers to change course — or at least look for a new one —was, ironically, some bad economic news. Again, Buzzfeed:

The core factor in the search for a new message, aides say privately, was the August jobs report. The anemic job growth was widely viewed as bad news for Obama even as the unemployment rate dropped due to people leaving the workforce. But the national shrug confirmed Romney campaign concerns that the most visible economic indicator would remain muddled through Election Day.

It seems that the Romney campaign will actually have to start acknowledging that this election is about the candidates’ vastly differing visions of the future — exactly what the Obama campaign was after all along.  Attendees of last week’s Values Voter Summit in Washington were all in favor of a new, bolder, and more self-sure Romney-Ryan ticket. One person suggested “fireside chats,” à la FDR, to the Huffington Post, while others begged Boston headquarters to “unleash” Paul Ryan, the GOP’s only real idea man. (Of course, many of his most significant ideas are about the economy.)

Regardless, a full campaign redesign this late in the game must have Republican strategists concerned. Top social conservative leaders, like the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, sure are. “If the Republican Party loses this election, conservatives will have had it,” he told the Huffington Post. “They will be done, finished.”

Romney Campaign Rethinking Strategy