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FixCam: Romney's Post-Iowa Message




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MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Former Massachusetts governors Mitt Romney arrived in New Hampshire early on Friday morning still stinging from his loss in the Iowa caucuses but looking to quickly pivot his message in hopes of besting Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) next Tuesday and reclaim his place as the GOP frontrunner.

Romney's new and improved message -- as debuted last night in front of a packed house at a community center in Manchester -- is simple: "John McCain is a creature of Washington and I'm not."

"Washington is fundamentally, at its core, broken," said Romney -- repeating the word "broken" seconds later for emphasis. "Sending the same people back to Washington and just have them filling different chairs is not going to change Washington. You need someone who knows how to change things."

The line drew steady -- and spontaneous -- applause, a good sign for Romney. Another good sign was the roar that went up from the crowd when Romney took a hard-line stance against illegal immigration. Romney has been attacking McCain on television for the last week over the Arizona senator's support for a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

Romney also seemed to have read the entrance polls from the Iowa caucuses, which showed that change was a prevailing concern on the minds of voters, as he time and again painted himself as a forward-looking change agent. Romney argued that the Iowa results were a rejection of "two people running for office who had been around Washington for a very long time" -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and McCain. (He didn't mention that McCain essentially bypassed Iowa in order to focus his limited campaign resources on New Hampshire.)

Romney's outsider message could play well with voters who are sick of Washington and like Romney's combination of experience in the public and private sector -- a profile that appealed to a number of Iowa voters who participated in focus groups sponsored by The Washington Post last month.

But in his speech, Romney also showed a potential vulnerability as he tries to make up ground on McCain here. Explaining how he was recruited to save the Salt Lake City Olympics, Romney said: "You know how much I know about sporting events. Not much."

It was a small moment in a long speech, but it shows why Romney struggles to relate to average voters. Most people -- especially in the Northeast -- follow sports either with a passing interest or great passion. And even among those who fall into the former category know you don't call games "sporting events."

Romney, for all his charisma, oratorical skills and brilliance, seems to lack the common touch that voters like to see in a president. McCain, at least in New Hampshire, has that touch. Voters feel like they not only know him but also can trust him. That difference makes Romney's fight against McCain here over the next few days all the more challenging.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 5, 2008; 10:27 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Posted by: Jake | April 9, 2008 3:59 AM | Report abuse

If the economy is a big issue then who would be the candidate of choice? Ask yourself a simple question, who would you trust to invest your money?

McCain and Huckabee whine about Romney's money. How did he get it? By understanding the economy and business. Why don't they have it? They would if they could understand the economy and business the way Romney does.

Huckabee stated that the people don't want a candidate that is responsible for laying people off. Wake up Huckabee. Romney has created more jobs by turning businesses because of his understanding of business and economics.

Huckabee's statement just underlines his ignorance of business and the economy. The purpose of business is to make money. Businesses make money by employing people, not laying them off.

If you analyze Huckabee's one liners, they are cute, but they betray his real ignorance on the issues.

Huckabee was responsible for creating jobs in Arkansas. He expanded the Arkansas government employee count by over 20%.

The problem with the way that Huckabee created jobs is that he increased Arkansas state spending by over 65%. Anyone who understands the impact of government employees understands that they are a detriment to the economy. They are an expense to the tax payers and don't produce anything that stimulates true economic growth.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=8838

Huckabee fits right in with the big government tax and spend "Beltway Boys".

Posted by: rdew | January 5, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

The people in New Hampshire, and elsewhere, need to ask themselves why a democrat and liberal media would endorse McCain. The answer is that "Birds of a feather flock together". Romney is the only republican running on a true conservative platform.

Romney's tax plan was applauded by the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank. Romney's health plan in Massachusetts was applauded by the Heritage Foundation, another conservative think tank.

Compare Romney and McCain on education.

Romney, honors graduate with a juris doctorate and MBA from Harvard.
McCain, graduated 790 of 795, five from the bottom of the class, from the Naval Academy

State education rankings:

Massachusetts #2 (Romney)
Arizona #50 (McCain, dead last)

One thing you can say about McCain and education... he is consistent.

Posted by: rdew | January 5, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

"sporting Event" / games". Holy crap! Now we are going to make political decisions based on whether Romney knows that New Hampshire calls games, games. Get real!

I know what I call the Washington Post, and you can bet it ain't politically correct!

As we would say in the hinderlands (the flyover states, for you east coast preppies): "Oh my Gosh! No wonder those folks in the east are so uptight! The keep getting their britches all in a knot!"

Posted by: scottdevelopment | January 5, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

If you want to talk about game playing...

I'd say McCain is like RISK...you'd be taking a big one to vote for him... all he has is foreign policy experience and a President needs more than just the roll of the dice to keep our nation safe. Besides, it's all about battles with him, and he is getting to old to fight.

Huckabee is like "SCENE IT" cause all he does is tell you what you want to hear to get your vote. He also sounds a lot like Bill Clinton and we've already played that game. (and lost) My husband said I should say Huckabee is like "Whose line is it anyway" (I want a president, not a comedian, and I think the person running the country should be more dignified)

Mitt is the best conservative candidate
running, with the most potential. I bet it's dems putting him down on this blog cause they are going to lose if he gets the nomination. If not, then you need to listen to RUSH. or go play clue..


Posted by: momaduke | January 5, 2008 05:43 PM



Posted by: nmcagirl | January 5, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I recently returned home from working a long week on the Romney campaign in Iowa. I called and knocked on doors in -12 degree weather to get the message out. As Mitt says, "We took the Silver." Were we disappointed as a team? Yes. But, look at the facts. Huckabee may have walked away with a win; however, that win was with a "soft" bigoted evangelical base. Romney captured more evangelical voters (30%) than Huckabee got from non-evangelicals (13%). I applaud those evangelicals that crossed religious lines to vote for Mitt. It shows what many Republicans know: Mitt Romney is what this country needs to turn around Washington. Huckabee's pastor buddies did their job in gathering the flock. No whining, just looking at the political process through clear lenses. Romney has other primaries ahead. We'll see how those demographics line up.

Posted by: astevens-OH | January 5, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Sorry but I fail to see how an angry old man who's face gets beet red and veins popping when someone disagrees with him when he is "deemed" the expert is more likable and authentic.....yeah authentic enough to tell another colleague"f**k you" and "chickensh*t". So when his "authenticity" gets to the world stage are we going to see a Khruschev moment of his fists pounding on a table when he isn't getting his way.

McCain's temper is a real problem, the world is dangerous enough. I want someone with a calm, intelligent demeanor like Mitt's, it's a much better fit for POTUS.

McCain's gritty, "I'm right" toughness is good when your out in battle but not when you are trying to lead a whole nation.

Posted by: sheryl7962 | January 5, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Romney - what a hoot! In truth, he is the original "change" candidate, since he has changed his mind on every issue important in this election. Changed on everything exception his unfaltering support for Bush. I heard him yesterday tell us that the electorate wants change, though not necessarily change in the White House. HUH? Someone ought to tell this guy this in a Presidential Election. Maybe he forgot? We are changing presidents, Mitt. We want someone totally different than Bush. You want to give us more of the same. Sheesh. Maybe we should buy Mitt a "Clue" game...then he'd have one...a clue, that is.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 5, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"What he has done in his career is full of change."

Romney supporters have no sense of irony at all, do they? Thanks for the chuckle!

Posted by: anon99 | January 5, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

reostationwagon,

If the guy's so hot, why did he lose to a clown with no money, no chance of beating any Democrat in national elections and no established sate-wide operation.

Washington is not a corporation. He won't be able to fire and hire at will.

Today he is four points behind McCain, who came fourth in Iowa.

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 5, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Come now, keep in my the context of his comments. How many of you know much about the luge, curling or bobsledding or how to organize such an event? The Winter Olympics are not the same kind of sport as baseball or football, so don't try nit pick on that.

What he has done in his career is full of change. Anyone who says otherwise has an agenda that blinds them to reality. He's a legend to anyone who has been to business school or is familiar with the worlds he has worked in.

I've met Mitt Romney. I've had lunch with him. He has unbelievable wit, intelligence and yes, charisma. Everyone in the room, left a fan of Mitt Romney, and this wasn't a collection of natural supporters.

People accuse him of being fake because after 8 years of Bush they can't imagine a candidate who could be that perfect. But he is the real deal. You couldn't genetically engineer a better presidential candidate.

He is the only candidate who would know the first thing about getting stuff done and to do it quickly.

Posted by: reostationwagon | January 5, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Mitt is clearly the best leader running. If you are a conservative and look closely at the issues you'll see he's our guy.
The Dem's are sweating. They are taking swipes at him at every turn because he is a real threat and the only one who can beat their nominee.

Posted by: nmcagirl | January 5, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

An investment banker who has built his career firing people, who has years of making political contributions, who is the son of a Governor, who has been a Governor himself can not claim an outsider status.


What a joke.


I believe Romney is destroying the last of his credibility - you would think with a history of flip-flopping and repositioning, he would avoid outright deceptions. Did you hear his spin on the results out of Iowa - does he expect anyone to take him seriously at all after that spin?

Posted by: Miata7 | January 5, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

'Romney, for all his charisma, oratorical skills and brilliance, seems to lack the common touch that voters like to see in a president.'

I have to agree with freedom -- charisma? brilliance? sure he's a good orator, in a rehearesed-a-million-times kind of way, but I just don't see the rest. He's a robot, an empty suit. I've never seen anyone will less charisma or human feelings. Tying your dog to the roof of your car for 10 hours in the hot sun is not something anyone with an ounce of empathy could do. And then to make a joke about how the poor beast got diarrhea -- my god. there's something essentially broken about him.

He's just another rich guy like GWBush, a little smarter, I'll grant him that, but who was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.

Posted by: drindl | January 5, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Romney is a better/improved/reloaded/swankier version of, er...Dan Quayle.

He's Mormonism's version of Fabio, with gazillions to self-prop an oh-so-wonderful odyssey to nowhere.

He's OK, if you want a new, "No Executions", vacuous Fantasy Island. As soon as Mr. Wonderful is selected by the enchanted GOP masses, expect him to nominate Huckabee as his official Tatoo.

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 5, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

charisma? brilliance? who are you talking about?

Romney's message is pretty weak. McCain, as all voters probably know, is one of the few mavericks in Washington. I don't think you can stick the "Washington" label on him.

Posted by: freedom41 | January 5, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 5, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

There is something not quite genuine about Romney. David Brooks had a interesting column earlier this week analyzing why Romney would be a losing candidate, Mark in Austin posted a link but I no longer have it. The only question is whether he loses in the primaries or general election.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 5, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Romney changing his message? Wow, there's a real shocker. Not!

Posted by: williamland | January 5, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I don't think it matters that Romney's not a sports fan. I think it matters that he's not trying to act like one when he isn't. Most of us who follow sports have friends who aren't sports fans, and we're cool with that. But trying to act like a fan when you're not... uncool.

Posted by: jlwoodhe | January 5, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Romney has definitely changed his meesage after Iowa. Just look at his latest TV ad...

http://political-buzz.com/2008/01/05/brand-new-romney-ad-growth-and-prosperity/

Posted by: parkerfl | January 5, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

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