Romney’s “Conservative Agenda” and Plight for Subliminal Acceptance

Bookmark and Share  According to the song and tradition, Christmas consists of twelve festive days that begin on Christmas Day and culminates on the evening of January 5th. It is commonly referred to as Christmastide, the part of the Christian liturgical calendar between Christmas and the Epiphany.  But this year, in the world of politics, the combination of Christmastide and an early caucus and primary calendar will provide one lucky presidential candidate with the delivery of a gift from voters that will arrive two days prior to the traditional celebration of the day the three kings delivered their gifts to the baby Jesus.

In the case of Mitt Romney, he is doing his best to hope that the voters of Iowa present him with the gift of a win in their presidential caucus on Tuesday, January 3rd and his latest attempt to make that come to fruition is a new ad.

It’s called “Conservative Agenda” and it incorporates excerpts of a speech given by Romney, which highlight several preeminent goals of conservatives…………..a smaller, limited government, and balanced budgets.

For Romney, ads like this are all a part of a much needed psychological mission designed to create a subliminal connection to himself and all things conservative, in the minds of the Republican base.

Repetition has a way of leaving unrealized impressions that can play a subtle role in acceptance of a candidate, especially among voters who are undecided.  With money being Romney’s last problem, he can afford the luxury of such a psychological campaign.  And if ads like “Conservative Agenda” are repeated enough between now and January 3rd, Romney could do better than expected in the Iowa Caucus.

As heard here, many Iowa voters are undecided and as the Des Moines Register recently reported the number of still undecided or not yet truly committed to the candidate who is currently their first choice and can easily be persuaded to vote for another candidate is as high as 70%.

This makes any subtle edge that Romney can get, imperative, especially if at the last minute, a great many Iowa Republicans decide that beating Obama is the most important objective in their selection of a presidential nominee.  If that because a major determining factor among still undecided voters, and if Romney can somehow convince evangelical and Republican base voters that he is at least a somewhat acceptable conservative, than many of those within the still undecided voting bloc could break for Romney at the last minute.

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How does Team Romney deal with Gingrich “The Comeback Kid?”

Bookmark and Share   Mitt Romney and his team have been caught blind sided by the resurgence of former Speaker Newt Gingrich in recent weeks. Romney and his team have until now, run a fairly steady professional campaign, appearing to see off all challengers from Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann and last month, Herman Cain. The only challenger, who appeared likely to threaten Romney and his front runner status seriously, was Rick Perry, who had the finance and organisation to worry Romney before his debate performances tripped him up.

Former Speaker Gingrich was dismissed as a serious potential nominee last summer when political strategists and operatives left his campaign and with it a large debt. It appeared Gingrich would be forced out of the race early however; Gingrich launched a low-key strategy of maximising his resources to keep his ailing campaign going until he could make an impact during the many presidential debates. The debates have changed the electoral picture significantly, in a nation where leadership, ideas and willingness for bi-partisan co-operation seemed all but lost. Gingrich the often ridiculed professor like character, suddenly burst through the efforts of the mainstream media and began sounding like the presidential voice American’s and others have been crying out for. Gingrich not only could answer the questions substantively, he apologised where he made poor decisions in the past, offered creative and visionary solutions to many of the problems America faces and stuck to Ronald Reagan 11th Commandment of not attacking another Republican.

Romney and his team have been preparing for this presidential run for six years. Romney has been polished, smart, and professional, styled himself as the business candidate who could save the economy. He was able to look Commander in Chief like when compared to Herman Cain. He appeared practical and focused on foreign affairs when compared to Ron Paul’s stance on Iran and even when pressed into a clash by Perry, was able to remain composed and calm.

Romney and his team didn’t expect the near perfect rise of former Speaker Gingrich five weeks away from the first primary and caucus race. A Rasmussen Poll released today shows if the election were held today, Gingrich would receive 38% of the vote and Romney now a distant second on 17%.

Gingrich’s rise is due to his ability to cover a range of topics and invoke the patriotic passion and American spirit within the American people. Gingrich didn’t just rely on beating President Obama on his record like Romney, he is selling a vision, a future and able to say to voters, ”Here is what the country looks like after three year of an Obama presidency, can you afford four more?”.

Gingrich rhetorically uses specific examples, as he uncovers the Obama presidency then says, this is what I will do on jobs, education, national security & controversially, immigration. The trick Gingrich has cleverly used when selling himself, is on the notion that while he has a clear vision for America’s future, he is prepared to listen to anybody and above all, he talks about getting both political parties to work together again. He passionately believes the mantra of American togetherness is essential in rebuilding the nation and its fortunes.

Team Romney knows they cannot dismiss Gingrich’s rise like the previous pretenders. Gingrich has vast political and private sector experience; he has an exceptional mind and brilliant ability to offer three of four ideas on an issue, where others struggle to provide one. Team Romney know the stakes are higher then ever before with only five weeks to go before caucuses and faced with a challenger who poses their most substantial and credible threat to a Romney nomination victory.

How will Romney and his campaign team respond? It is already evident; they intend to launch a strong, robust and sustained attack that labels Gingrich as a Washington insider and serial flip-flopper who can’t be trusted. The big strategic question however remains; will Romney engage Gingrich through political advertisements or in the remaining debates?

It is an extremely tricky position Team Romney find themselves in. Any attack against Gingrich could rebound and hurt Romney among GOP supporters and only help to solidify Gingrich’s support more. It is likely they view the Gingrich threat as one which they’ll have to execute steadily and cautiously, by initially focussing on the Romney’s strengths personally and professionally such as his stable family and long marriage, his private sector experience on a whole, indirectly highlighting Gingrich’s Washington ties and former personal flaws.

If Gingrich is still in the lead two weeks away from Iowa, then expect a change in tactics and an all out attack campaign from Team Romney. Gingrich will not be like other challengers, if Romney’s team engage and attack him directly, Gingrich is very capable of putting it into perspective and force attention back on Romney. The late Gingrich challenge appears to have also unsettled Romney personally, he appeared annoyed and angered when questioned on the healthcare issue by an interviewer this week. Romney needs to ensure he doesn’t adopt a prickly personality which could bring on a media tsunami of close scrutiny and pressure at the very time he doesn’t need negative attention.

My own advice to Romney and his campaign team is to remove the protective shackles from and let him demonstrate some real passion and determination to win. Romney needs to convince voters why he would make a great president but more importantly, how much he wants it. Removing some of the protectionism which has surrounded Romney up to now, may in fact be the best strategy of all, to beat Gingrich. To challenge or attack Gingrich directly is a political tight rope for any GOP candidate with the potential for supporter backlash or abandonment.

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Cain May Be on the Rise, But Romney Still Sees Perry as His Greatest Threat

Bookmark and Share    In advance of tonight’s CNN Republican presidential debate in Nevada, the two names that comprise what the media defined two man Republican race for the White House is, have issued new web ads.

For Mitt Romney it is one of his first attack ads.  Up to now, he has essentially been running a general election campaign which has presumed that he is the nominee.  But now, his campaign has produced a web ad designed to undermine what is supposed to be one of Rick Perry’s greatest selling points ……his record on jobs.  In the latest ad, Romney’s campaign points out that there are 1 millions Texans without a job, claims Texas is now suffering from its highest unemployment rate in 20 years, that nearly half the jobs that Perry created over the last 4 years went to illegal immigrants, and that unemployment has doubled in  Texas under Perry’s watch.  The ad starts and ends by comparing Perry to President Obama in the sense that both men are denying the truth about their records.

For his part, Rick Perry released his own web ads, which touts him as America’s “Jobs Governor”.  It begins with a Bloomberg News reporter’s voice stating how great Perry’s record on jobs is.  The rest of the ad uses video of Perry’s recent speech announcing his energy based jobs creation plan.

In comparing the two spots, Romney’s ad is more effective.  But together, both ads demonstrate how the truth cannot be established through statistics and that it is all a matter of choosing the metrics which allow you to make the case you want.

What is most interesting about this new series of ads, is Romney’s desire to focus on Rick Perry and not Herman Cain.

In recent weeks, Perry has plummeted in the polls and Herman Cain has skyrocketed, even to the point of surpassing Mitt Romney’s position in the polls.  Yet the Romney campaign saw fit to still go on the attack against Perry, not Cain.  This would seem to indicate that the Romney camp continues to see Rick Perry as the greatest threat to their winning the Republican presidential nomination.

Romney’s Ad

Perry’s Ad

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Romney is Sitting Pretty in New Hampshire and Looking Good in 2012

Mitt Romney Wins SouthernBookmark and Share NHJournal.com commissioned a January 4th poll of 1,451 likely, New Hampshire Republican voters and discovered that at the moment Mitt Romney has an extremely commanding lead over the field of all his potential primary opponents.

The poll by Magdella Data and Mapping Strategies, gave Romney a 23 point lead over his closest potential rival, Sarah Palin.

Results broke down this way;

  1. Mitt Romney – 39%
  2. Sarah Palin – 16%
  3. Mike Huckabee – 10%
  4. Ron Paul – 7%
  5. Tim Pawlenty – 4%
  6. Rick Santorum – 3%
  7. Haley Barbour – 1%

Romneys substantial lead is an encouraging sign that this time around, with the McCain campaigns of 2000 and 2008 out of the equation, he has the inside track on winning the first in nation primary.

With the field of opponents still developing and a years worth of campaigning still ahead, this is merely a snapshot of this moment, not Primary Day, but one still meaningful result that comes out of the poll for Romney is his favorable rating which stands at a whopping 73% and his favorables beat all others in all categories.

This indicates that the next in line form of Republican presidential contests is shaping up so far. The G.O.P. typically nominates the next in line. At least since Eisenhower, the person who has paid their dues in previous years and primaries, usually gets the nod. It was the case with Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, Dole and even McCain, who ran close in 2000 and after the second term of G.W. Bush, was the next in line in 08.

In 2012, Romney finds himself in that position and at least in New Hampshire, it looks good for Romney to keep the tradition going.

At the same time, this all puts the pressure on Romney more than any of his potential rivals. As the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, he should be in the lead in New Hampshire and with his maintaining of a high approval rating he can maintain that lead but it will take work if people like Mitch Daniels, Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour <ike Huckabeee and/or Sarah Palin start eating away at it.

For now, the key for Romney will be not just taking New Hampshire but winning the first presidential contest which takes place in Iowa, followed by the third and fourth contests which will take place in Nevada and the ever important prelude to the race in the Southern states, South Carolina. The former Massachusetts Governor is in good position in Nevada but he has his work to do in Iowa and South Carolina.

For Romney to be successful in 2012 he is going to have build up a lot of early steam and the best way for him to do that will be by taking all four of the first contests. Wins in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina will position him as a candidate with strength in all regions and the frontrunner whose race this is to lose. This set up will be critical for Romney if he intends on holding his own in the South, where he is probably his weakest at the moment.

If Romney can establish himself as the clear frontrunner before the Southern Super Tuesday contests, he should still be in good shape coming out of them. But if Romney goes in to them after faltering in places like Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina, he will be in trouble. For the time being though, New Hampshire is giving Romney some signs of hope.

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