Romney’s advisers insisted that he would keep his inner circle intact amid growing concerns about the Republican presidential candidate and his campaign. The tempest began with a weekend tweet from media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and burst Thursday onto the pages of his newspaper the Wall Street Journal, as its conservative editorial board opined that Romney’s advisers were “slowly squandering an historic opportunity” to beat President Obama.
By day’s end, talk radio host Laura Ingraham had asked listeners whether the vacationing candidate should “get off the jet ski,” and influential commentator William Kristol, who recently returned from a private retreat with Romney and his senior strategists, had bemoaned the campaign’s “dangerous self-delusion.” Without a course correction, Kristol posited, Romney would suffer the same fate as the last two presidential nominees from Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis and John F. Kerry, both Democrats.
Romney’s advisers strongly rejected the course-correction suggestion but said they have been in the process of recruiting more political muscle to his Boston-based headquarters.
The campaign plans to bolster its rapid response and overall messaging operations and to assemble a senior staff for the eventual vice presidential running mate, according to strategists close to the campaign. They said some Republicans who have been informally advising the campaign may assume more official duties, including appearing as surrogates on television. The strategists said the moves could be announced as early as next week.
Up for a game of musical deck chairs on the SS Titanic, anyone?
As might be fitting to a meditation on the relative merits of Romney as candidate, I am of several minds regarding what the GOP candidate and/or his staff is doing wrong. For one thing, access to the mainstream media is really essential--they don't mind being nicknamed and fed turkey and whatnot, so long as they get the odd quote--oh wait. Sometimes Mitt gives the very odd quote. That might not be so ideal. For another, they might want to dial back on relying on Ann Romney as a surrogate to "humanize" Mitt. Seriously, whenever she comes out to make Mitt seem more sympathetic, I actually find myself wondering what her deal is.
I guess they could give more policy specifics out, if their plans weren't one part what the swine bathed in and one part what the cattle rancher stepped in. Then again, Romney could run on his record as a public figure, if the GOP didn't hate everything he did and said back then. Or maybe run on Romney's career as a successful businessman, if he wasn't a vulture-capitalist job-outsourcing probable tax cheat.
Is the problem really the staff? Or could we safely call it the candidate by this point?
(X-posted at Rumproast.)