It’s easy to lose focus on the economy when the Romney campaign is forced to deal with trivialities like the candidate’s tax returns and the distraction of blaming him for the weak US response in the wake of attacks on our diplomatic missions.
But the Romney campaign is refocusing its efforts this weekend on highlighting the faltering economy, which apparently as the Obama campaign a little worried, as evidenced by campaign manager Jim Messina’s wishful thinking:
“In all the battleground states, we continue to see all our pathways there,” he told the White House pool at an Obama fundraiser in Milwaukee. “We’re either tied or in the lead in every battleground state 45 days out.”
Messina, who drove from Chicago to Wisconsin to be with Obama on his first trip to a state that appears to have come into play when Paul Ryan was selected to be Romney’s running mate, predicted that the national polling will get even closer, but that the president’s lead will hold in key swing states.
“I think you will see a tightening in the national polls going forward,” he said. “What I care way more about it Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin, etc. In those states, I feel our pathways to victory are there. There are two different campaigns, one in the battlegrounds and one everywhere else. That’s why the national polls aren’t relevant to this campaign.”
Almost all battleground states are polling within the margin of error, which makes Messina’s statement a curiosity. With all the polls close, why should we believe him when he says pay no attention to the national surveys?
It sounds as if Messina is a little desperate. If he is so confident, he wouldn’t be making such grandiose claims.
For the Romney campaign, there is no alternative to focusing like a laser on the economy and tying the president firmly to its failures.
Top Republicans on Sunday looked to move past last week’s political setbacks and refocus the November election on the sputtering economy.
In a series of interviews on Sunday shows, lawmakers and party leaders said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney needed to use the narrowing window before the Nov. 6 election to crystallize the choice voters face and to talk about key issues including the economy and federal deficit.
“I think you’ve got to get off [your] heels and get out and charge forward,” Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker said on “Fox News Sunday.”
He said Mr. Romney’s campaign has struggled to deal with one “distraction” after another, particularly the fallout from a secretly taped video released last week that showed Mr. Romney saying at a Boca Raton, Fla., fundraiser in May that half of the country didn’t pay income taxes and had become dependent on the government.
Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus said on ABC’s “This Week” that Republicans needed to make the election more than just a referendum on President Barack Obama’s first term in office and instead should “consistently” highlight their plans for the future.
“Over the next 46 days, we have to lay out to the American people not just that we need to start having people in office that commit to the promises they make, but that we need to lay out the vision and lay out the specifics as we are doing, but more clearly and more consistently on a daily basis,” he said. “I mean, we have to win the day. We have to win the mission on a daily basis.”
Republicans emphasized the weak state of the economy and blamed Mr. Obama for not being able to fix it.
The economy is the only sure winning issue for the Romney campaign. In a season where the Obama campaign has desperately tried to deflect attention from Obama’s Achilles heel, eventually, it will come down to how well the economy is performing on election day.
Given what’s happening now, one would have to like Romney’s chances.