Ed Gillespie, strategist for the Romney campaign, just completed a conference call with reporters, discussing the message of the campaign in the coming weeks:
We’ll be highlighting the specific aspects of the Romney plan for a stronger middle class . . . They’re eager to hear more details about policies to turn our economy around and create 12 million jobs in his first term. Polls show that voters now recognize that Romney has a plan to turn our economy around, and they’re open to hearing more from him on this front. By the way, that’s not true for Governor Romney only, they are also are eager, also curious about President Obama and what he would do in a second term if he were to be reelected. They haven’t heard many details from him or policy proposals at all from him. We’re looking forward to new emphasis and renewed emphasis on why electing Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan would result in better, higher take-home pay, more jobs in our economy. You’ll see it in speeches like today, events, remarks, surrogate efforts, paid advertisements.
We released a new ad today on the Romney plan for a stronger middle class which emphasizes deficit reduction, trade, and small business components of that plan . . . Governor Romney is going to highlight at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event that he’s going to limit spending for programs that have been growing uncontrollably fast, that he turns back to the states and limit their funding to the rate of inflation or in the case of Medicaid, the rate of inflation plus one percent. . . . Look to increase the productivity of Washington by reducing federal government employment by 10 percent, through attrition, and combine agencies and departments to reduce overhead, and link government compensation to that of the private sector. These things will result in about $500 billion a year by the end of his first term. We think people will be appreciative to hear some of those kinds of specifics.
(Do Hispanic businessman want to hear about deficit reduction, Medicare, and reducing the size of the federal workforce? Wouldn’t this be a good place to talk up building the Keystone pipeline, ensuring that federal regulations don’t strangle the economic boom stemming from fracking, and tax simplification, and to make a full-throated denunciation of a Washington culture of crony capitalism, where who you know is more important than how well you can do a job?)
Earlier today, the Romney campaign sent brief excerpts of what to expect from Romney’s 12:15 address to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce:
No one is exempt from the pain of this economy, but the Hispanic community has been particularly hard hit. While national unemployment is 8.1 percent, Hispanic unemployment is over 10 percent. Over two million more Hispanics are living in poverty today than the day President Obama took office.
In 2008, candidate Obama promised us a world of limitless hope. What we got instead is a world where hope has painful limits — limits that make it harder to start a business, to grow a business, or to find a job.
I will work with Republicans and Democrats to permanently fix our immigration system.
We will never achieve a legal immigration system that is fair and efficient if we do not first get control of our borders. I believe we can all agree that what we need are fair and enforceable immigration laws that will stem the flow of illegal immigration, while strengthening legal immigration.
Later in the call, Gillespie characterized the polls as “a dead heat virtually everywhere in all of the key states”:
What’s changed to a certain extent is the timing. We believe that the focus with these ads, saying, “Here’s our answer, here’s how we’re going to turn things around,” a running mate out there reinforcing the message on social media and other places, that hitting this now and filling in some more specifics that people are eager to hear about, that’s going to resonate. That’s our calculation, and we think it’s important to put this out there.
Romney campaign pollster Neil Newhouse briefly appeared on the call to answer a question on why Romney appears to be losing ground to Obama on issues like the deficit and taxes:
The deficit stuff is a function of the bounce that Obama got from the Democratic convention — everything moves up and down. On taxes, I’m not sure voters are clear on what the Obama plan would do and what the Romney plan would do. One of the things we’re committed to moving forward is defining the differences between the two candidates on taxes.