Photograph by Mario Tama/Getty Images.
Mitt Romney likes to emphasize he’s different from President Obama. He isn’t shy about saying what he opposes. But what is he for? What would his presidency look like? So far, there are few hints, and some Republicans are starting to get nervous, points out Politico.
“At some point he has to show that he has a vision of a better way,” GOP strategist Mark McKinnon notes. “He can’t just say ‘The future is bleak, follow me.’ Because no one will.”
Even in the economy, which Romney has qualified as his signature issue, the presumptive Republican nominee is light on specifics about what he would do while in office. Some GOP officials insist this isn’t a problem, noting that at this point in the campaign the specifics shouldn’t be the priority.
On Sunday morning, three of Romney’s former rivals went on television to talk up their support for the presumptive nominee and dismiss their past criticism. Some couldn’t help but talk themselves up. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, for example, said Romney’s record only looked slim compared to his own, but insisted that “Romney has been far more successful in the things he has has done than Barack Obama,” reports the New York Daily News.
The biggest reversal came from Newt Gingrich, who had criticized Romney’s record at Bain Capital during the primary but now insists it would be a losing issue for Democrats. “Bain as an issue doesn’t work because people look at it in balance and they say, ‘Yeah, you can pick a couple companies that lost. You can pick a lot of companies that succeeded,’ ” Gingrich said, according to the Los Angeles Times. For his part, Arizona Sen. John McCain walked back his own criticism of Bain Capital, saying that “the free enterprise system can be cruel.”
Meanwhile, a top official in Obama’s re-election campaign made it clear the president will not be dropping the attacks on Romney’s time at Bain. Robert Gibbs told CBS News Americans have a “visceral reaction” to Romney’s record at Bain, adding that the campaign is “certainly happy to talk a little bit about Mitt Romney and his record of not creating jobs in virtually every step of his life.” Republicans insisted it was part of Obama’s strategy to oppose the private sector.
“This president is hostile to job creators,” said Romney adviser Ed Gillespie, according Bloomberg.
The way Romney is responding to the attacks on his record at Bain make it clear he has learned his lessons from the GOP primary, points out the Hill. His Republican rivals had raised similar questions during the primary, so when the president’s campaign started attacking his time at Bain, Romney quickly used as an opportunity to say the president “doesn’t understand how the free economy works.”