ARGUMENTS OVER ROMNEY CAMPAIGN – AT 8:57 A.M. ET: There is controversy within the Republican Party over the Romney campaign. A bit of panic has set in as we look at polls showing Obama gaining, even though many observers are warning that the polls vastly oversample Democrats. The accepted wisdom on the part of even partisan conservative pundits is that the president has made some gains.
One of the sharpest observers is Byron York of the Washington Examiner:
DAYTON, Ohio - For a brief moment, as he spoke to voters Tuesday during his only Ohio appearance with running mate Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney seemed to find a new aggressiveness in attacking Barack Obama. Addressing a crowd gathered in chilly, rainy weather outside the Wright Brothers Aviation hangar at Dayton Airport, Romney said the president has "a vision of government that is entirely foreign to anything this nation has ever known." Obama's vision is an America with "a larger and larger government, taking more and more from the people, intruding itself into your relationship with your doctor, investing in companies, picking winners and losers…"
"That is not the America I know," Romney continued. "That is not the America that built Ohio. That is not the America that we're going to restore."
The point was impossible to miss: No longer was Romney talking about President Obama as a good man who wants the right things for the country but just isn't quite able to get the job done. As Romney told it in Dayton, Obama is taking the country in a fundamentally un-American direction, and will keep doing so if he is re-elected. Only Mitt Romney can stop it.
If that new version of the Romney candidacy thrilled some Republicans who want Romney to take the fight to Obama -- well, the thrill was short lived. A little more than 24 hours later, appearing solo in Toledo, Romney was back to his old view of the president. Listing rising prices of food, health care, gas, and other necessities, Romney said, "The American family, middle income families, are having a hard time. Look, I know the president cares about America and the people in this country. He just doesn't know how to help them. I do. I'll get this country going again." Whatever edge Romney showed the day before in Dayton was gone.
Romney's oscillation between a more and less aggressive stance comes as Republicans both inside and outside the party establishment are urging him to be more assertive against Obama...By that, they meant not only that Romney hit Obama harder but that he also be more assertive and forthcoming about his own plans for the White House.
COMMENT: I agree with the "hit harder" club. The press is filtering Romney to help Obama, and Romney must break through that filter. Next week, in the first debate, he must be aggressive, even though he'll be debating an incumbent president. Look, MSNBC will call him racist no matter what he says.
But he must present his vision for America. He must say something like, "The Democrats see you as victims. I see you as winners. And I will make sure that you have the chance to be winners. And here is how I'll do it."
This can be won.
September 27, 2012