In the wake of stinging third-place finishes in yesterday’s Alabama and Mississippi primaries, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s supporters and GOP strategists have one message for him: fix your own message.
These Republicans say that Romney’s focus on delegate math, electability, and attacks against top GOP rival Rick Santorum aren’t helping him cement his position as the Republican Party’s nominee for president.
Who has been critiquing the Romney campaign? Among others, former Romney adviser and Republican strategist Mike Murphy, former Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, and Tennessee GOP chairman Chris Devaney (remember, Romney lost Tennessee to Santorum on Super Tuesday).
Murphy said focusing on delegate counts made it seem less like Romney was running for president and more like he was running for a county party chairmanship. Lott said Romney could take a page from Newt Gingrich’s playbook, and focus on a topic that is important to potential voters, like Gingrich did with gas prices. Barbour said Romney’s focus on electability came at the expense of him expressing his conservative credentials.
Devaney gave perhaps the simplest piece of advice to Romney: be yourself. Devaney recalled how well Romney made the case for himself as president by playing on his experience running Bain Capital and managing the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002, and felt he had drifted off point in the recent primaries.
While Romney has a significant advantage over the rest of the Republican field for the presidential nomination, fixing his message might be crucial if he wants to land that knockout blow, in both the remaining primaries and in November.
– Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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