The Romney Strategy: Inform

In the spin room, the message from Mitt Romney’s inner circle was crystal clear: Romney didn’t want to be unnecessarily combative during the third presidential debate; he wanted to be informative.

During debate prep, Romney’s team hoped that a relaxed, informed Romney would contrast nicely with a fierier, defensive president.

“President Obama sounded so desperate, throwing out the kitchen sink,” says Dan Senor, a Romney aide. “He looked angry.”

“The president launched one attack after another,” adds Eric Fehrnstrom, a Romney adviser. “He sounded like the challenger.”

At every turn, Romney’s aim was to project leadership, and show voters that he is not a warmonger. “[Peace] should be the overarching goal of our foreign policy,” Fehrnstrom explains. “Governor Romney believes that peace is achieved through strength.”

Romney’s supporters think undecided voters will click with Romney’s approach. “He had a very dignified and knowledgeable tone,” says Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, cross the table, President Obama’s naval joke about “horses and bayonets” was “petty,” Ayotte thought, and reflective of the president’s diminishing appeal.

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

Most Popular

Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More