Mitt Romney needs to say something new, paint a compelling vision for the future and use his story to make a bigger point, GOP strategists said on Thursday at a National Journal/The Atlantic/CBS News event at the Republican National Convention.
- Romney lacks a clear picture, said Terry Nelson of FP1 Strategies, who was political director for George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign. “They have not gotten to the point where they have said to the American people what Mitt Romney’s vision is for the future of the country. Most people know what he is against and what he will undo, but they don’t yet know what he is going to do and how he is going to do it, and that is the big challenge for tonight’s speech … He doesn’t have to be liked to get someone’s vote. They just have to think they’ll be better off if he’s president of the United States."
- John Brabender of Brabender Cox, a former senior advisor for Rick Santorum, said Romney can’t just talk about himself. “The biography point needs to be something that illustrates a bigger point,” he said. “What he in some sense has to do is let people into his heart and mind a little bit and make a personal judgment about him. The second is, I really think he has to rally people, to say, ‘You know that this guy is going to take us some place as a country, this guy is going to impact me personally' … If this simply becomes an hour-long biography where he simply defends himself on Bain Capital and everything else, that’s not the way to go.”
- Sara Fagen, a partner with DDC Advocacy and another former George W. Bush campaign strategist, said Romney needs to refresh his pitch. “What we most importantly need in addition to the human side of this, is something new,” she said. “There hasn’t been anything new from a policy perspective that has really broken through in the last many months ... He’s got to boil it down to two or three things tonight that resonate, that feel like they are new.”
- The campaign also needs to keep mounting the case for its Medicare reform plans, she said: “It is important that they continue to aggressively articulate and fight on this issue, because while they may have won a few battles to date, they have not yet won the war on the Medicare fight.”