MOLINE, IL – Mitt Romney provided the 200 or so people who showed up to see him at an American Legion hall in Moline on Sunday a little sustenance. Event attendees were treated to pancakes and their choice of coffee or orange juice at Romney’s Sunday morning event in Illinois in advance of Tuesday’s primary. Those who were looking for a little red meat found none on the menu or in Romney’s speech.
Ann Romney provided as much substance in introducing her husband as the candidate himself did. Romney’s wife has become an important cog in the campaign. Her remarks not only allow people a glimpse of a softer, more approachable side to her husband, but on Sunday, she made a point to mention that women are frustrated with the Obama presidency too and want someone to put the country’s fiscal house back in order.
Mrs. Romney’s remarks about women is an indication that the campaign feels it is necessary to begin reaching out to women voters who have soured on the GOP following the contraception fiasco in Washington. While Mrs. Romney has taken on a much more visible role, in doing so, she also makes it easier to see how light Romney is on substance when on the campaign trail. Mrs. Romney addressed the audience for about seven minutes. Her husband only spoke for thirteen.
As we have gotten accustomed to in Romney’s election night speeches, he highlights the pledges that President Obama has broken. He says that the president promised to cut taxes for the middle class, balance the budget, and reform entitlements, none of which the President has delivered on. Romney did give the President credit for keeping one campaign promise – creating high gas prices.
Besides the handful of very broad issues and some patriotic words about America and its founding, Romney offered only one sentence on the issues of healthcare. Romney said, “President Obama believes that bureaucrats in Washington should make your health care decision, I’ll repeal Obamacare on my first day in office.”
Romney also lumped his Republican opponent, Rick Santorum, in with the President. He said that both share a common characteristic, both have never worked in the public sector, and thus only know about the economy by reading about it books. He went on to say that there is nothing wrong with that, but now is the time to have someone in the White House with real world experience.
Despite his aggressiveness towards Santorum and Obama on the economy, Romney never even alluded to his own tax proposal. For a candidate who is running to fix the economy and get America working again, he didn’t feel compelled to share his plans with the people who turned out to see him on Sunday morning. Once again, Romney is good at identifying problems, this time with his opponents’ backgrounds, but to capitalize on the issue, he needs to show his economic prowess. In many respects, Romney is about as deep in terms of issues on the stump as Herman Cain was. Actually, that might be an insult to Cain.
Romney’s Moline audience really liked the free pancakes and responded well to his broad message. While most went away from the event happy, one has to wonder if the event really helped him accomplish what his campaign needs to do politically. Instead of simply going through the motions, Romney would be wise to tailor a message that not only appeals to the base of the Republican Party, but will also better prepare him for a general election campaign should he win the nomination.
Many in the media may think that means pandering to the base, but what he really need to do is simply to offer more specifics on issues. People applaud when he says that he will repeal Obamacare, but he could reach out to conservatives and independents by talking about why it needs to be repealed. That is something that he has yet to do in the campaign. In fact, Romney provided more substance in his speech on additional military spending than he did on the issues of healthcare or the economy.
Not many people are wondering how many more ships, aircraft, and active members of the military a President Romney prefers. However, they do want to know if they can trust him to do what he says he will do. The reason why so many people still question Romney’s positions on a number of issues is not just his history of flip-flopping, it’s because he doesn’t provide enough supporting evidence to convince people of his position.
Romney may very well be able to secure the Republican nomination by simply going though the motions on the campaign trail and bombarding his opponents with negative TV ads. That’s not a bad strategy if the goal is to only win the Republican nomination, but if Mitt Romney wants to actually be the President of the United States, he needs to do a better job of convincing voters not just of what he would do as president, but also why his plans are what America needs.
Photo by Dave Davidson – Prezography.com
- Romney hits Obama, Santorum in Illinois (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
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- John McCain Calls 2012 Campaign The ‘Nastiest I Have Ever Seen’ (mediaite.com)
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