ADVICE FOR MITT – AT 9:25 A.M. ET: Although Romney has seemed to show a pulse in the last five days, he is still being rapped for running a less-than-vigorous campaign, allowing the Chicago guy in the White House to define him. Charlie Cook, one of the best political analysts around, examines what is wrong and gives some sound advice. From The Politico:
Political prognosticator Charlie Cook, last seen accurately foreseeing doom and destruction for House Democrats, joins the chorus of analysts warning that Mitt Romney is losing control of the 2012 race:
"Taken together, this ought to be a steep uphill fight for Obama. Voters seem perfectly open to the option of firing the president, but the Obama camp has given voters—specifically in swing states where wall-to-wall advertising is running—reason to hesitate about hiring Romney. Puzzlingly, the Romney campaign has offered very little to build up its candidate as a real human being, someone of character who’s worthy of being entrusted with the Oval Office.
"The strategic decision by the Romney campaign not to define him personally—not to inoculate him from inevitable attacks—seems a perverse one. Given his campaign’s ample financial resources, the decision not to run biographical or testimonial ads, in effect to do nothing to establish him as a three-dimensional person, has left him open to the inevitable attacks for his work at Bain Capital, on outsourcing, and on his investments. It’s all rather inexplicable. Aside from a single spot aired in the spring by the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future, not one personal positive ad has been aired on Romney’s behalf. The view that any day or dollar spent on talking about anything other than the economy is a waste has been taken to such an extreme that Romney has no positive definition other than that of being a rich, successful, and presumably smart businessman. People see and feel the reasons for firing Obama every day in the economic statistics and the struggle that so many Americans face daily. The Romney campaign seems focused on reinforcing a message that hardly needs reinforcing, while ignoring a clear and immediate danger to its own candidate’s electability."
COMMENT: Recently, both Rupert Murdoch and Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, warned Romney that he needs a more professional staff for the general-election campaign. They may well be right. Once you're defined early by your opponent, it's hard to undefine yourself.
And Romney has another problem. He'll be out of the country later this month for a trip to the Olympics and to Israel. You can be sure the Obamans will use that time to attack Romney at home, maybe even portraying the Olympics trip as a rich man's excursion to a sporting event. There is speculation that Romney will name his VP choice before leaving, so a surrogate is in place to campaign for him while he's gone. But the surrogate isn't the candidate.
Romney has work to do. He's still running even in the polls. If he sells himself, he wins. No one will do it for him.
July 17, 2012