I know that a lot of folks are getting nervous about how Romney is doing. If you just listen to the National Mainstream Media, it can drive you nuts, into despair, or hopelessness... We're doing fine... Mitt is going to win this, but we all have to do our part... enjoy the summary below of what's happening...
RASMUSSEN REPORTS: Daily Presidential Tracking Poll (Romney 47%; Obama 45%)
USA TODAY OP-ED: Romney: I'll deliver recovery, not dependency
THE NEW YORK TIMES: Sept. 18: Obama’s Bounce Erodes in Two Tracking Polls
ASSOCIATED PRESS: Analysis: Romney Sharpens Differences With Obama
BOSTON HERALD: Mitt’s right: Handouts do win votes
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Long-term, Romney's GM plan would have been better
THE WASHINGTON POST: At N.H. town hall, Paul Ryan urged to ‘take the gloves off’
HUMAN EVENTS: In Ohio, Rubio links debt, taxes and the economy
September 18, 2012
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows Mitt Romney attracting support from 47% of voters nationwide, while President Obama earns 45% of the vote. Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, and three percent (3%) are undecided. See daily tracking history.
When “leaners” are included, the race is tied with both Obama and Romney at 48%. Leaners are those who are initially uncommitted to the two leading candidates but lean towards one of them when asked a follow-up question.
Matchup results are updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update).
Kristen Soltis of The Winston Group and Emily Tisch Sussman from the Young Democrats of America joined Scott Rasmussen on What America Thinks to discuss the generation gap in American politics. Rich Benjamin of Demos and Kyle Harrington of Harrington Capital discussed the auto bailouts.
Republicans are up one in the Generic Congressional Ballot. In the Virginia Senate race, Democrat Tim Kaine has a two-point edge.
In the North Carolina governor’s race, Republican Pat McCrory has a double-digit lead.
The Swing State Daily Tracking Survey shows the race remains close in the battlegrounds.
A president’s job approval rating is one of the best indicators for assessing his chances of reelection. Typically, the president’s job approval rating on Election Day will be close to the share of the vote he receives. Currently, 49% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president's job performance. Fifty percent (50%) at least somewhat disapprove (see trends).
In Virginia and Ohio, Obama leads by a point. In Florida, the president is up two. Romney has edged back into the lead in Missouri and is up six in North Carolina. See the latest Rasmussen Reports Electoral College Projections.
In the Ohio Senate race, Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown has the advantage over Republican challenger Josh Mandel. Democrat Bill Nelson has the lead in the Florida Senate race. See the Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power projections.
Platinum Members can see demographic breakdowns and additional information from the tracking poll on a daily basis.
Voters are fairly evenly divided as to which candidate they trust more to handle events in the Middle East: 48% say Obama, 45% Romney. Unaffiliated voters have a slight preference for Romney. By an overwhelming 72% to 15% margin, voters believe it is more important to guarantee freedom of speech rather than making sure nothing is done to offend other nations and cultures. Half (51%) think it’s likely the government of Libya was involved in the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
As of this morning, only seven percent (7%) of voters rate national security issues as the most important in Election 2012.
Most voters continue to favor repeal of the president’s health care law. In his weekly newspaper column, Scott Rasmussen notes that “the health care debate is a great example of why Americans hate politics.” He adds that "building consensus on health care reform requires taking good ideas from both Democrats and Republicans. As far as voters are concerned, good ideas are the ones that give individuals more control over their own health care decisions.”
If you’d like Scott to speak to your organization, meeting or conference, please contact Premiere Speakers.
Four years ago this week, the collapse in consumer confidence began following the closing of Lehman Brothers. On September 15, 2008, 43% rated their own finances as good or excellent. By the time Obama won the election, only 38% thought their finances were in good shape. As the Wall Street meltdown continued, only 35% rated their finances that well on the day the president was inaugurated. By the summer of 2011, the number of Americans rating their finances as good or excellent fell as low as 27%.
Today, 33% are that upbeat. That’s down two since Obama took office and down 10 from the peak just before Lehman Brothers collapsed. Those numbers help explain why the race for the White House remains so close. Americans aren’t feeling better off than they were four years ago, but they’re not feeling much worse off either. That’s not great for the incumbent, but it’s not terrible.
It’s worth remembering that at this time four years ago, John McCain’s convention bounce ended abruptly. Then Obama moved ahead for good in what turned out to be a very stable race. During the final 40 days of the campaign, Obama’s support stayed between 50% and 52% every day in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll. Only once during that entire time did his lead fall below four points, and it occasionally expanded to eight.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company whose work is followed by millions on a wide variety of platforms. In addition to the new TV show, we regularly release our work at RasmussenReports.com, through a daily email newsletter, a nationally syndicated radio news service, an online video service and a weekly newspaper column distributed by Creators Syndicate.
To get a sense of longer-term Job Approval trends for the president, Rasmussen Reports compiles our tracking data on a full month-by-month basis.
Intensity of support or opposition can have an impact on campaigns. Currently, 28% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way Obama is performing as president. Forty-three percent (43%) Strongly Disapprove, giving him a Presidential Approval Index rating of -15 (see trends).
During midterm elections, intensity of support can have a tremendous impact on turnout. That was demonstrated in 2010 when Republicans and unaffiliated voters turned out in large numbers to express opposition to the Obama administration’s policies. However, in presidential election years, there is a smaller impact on turnout.
Rasmussen Reports has been a pioneer in the use of automated telephone polling techniques, but many other firms still utilize their own operator-assisted technology (see methodology). Pollsters for Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have cited our "unchallenged record for both integrity and accuracy." During Election 2008, Rasmussen Reports projected that Barack Obama would defeat John McCain by a 52% to 46% margin. Obama was 53% to 46%. In 2004, Rasmussen Reports was the only firm to project the vote totals for both candidates within half a percentage point. Learn more about the Rasmussen Reports track record over the years.
Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 500 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. To reach those who have abandoned traditional landline telephones, Rasmussen Reports uses an online survey tool to interview randomly selected participants from a demographically diverse panel. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 1,500 Likely Voters is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Results are also compiled on a full-week basis and crosstabs for full-week results are available for Platinum Members.
USA TODAY: Romney: I'll deliver recovery, not dependency
September 18, 2012 10:30 PM
Since our founding, America has promoted personal responsibility, the dignity of work and the value of education. Those values made our nation the hope of the earth and our economy the envy of the world.
Efforts that promote hard work and personal responsibility over government dependency make America strong. When the economy is growing and Americans are working, everyone involved has a shared sense of achievement, not to mention the basic sense of pride that comes with the paycheck they earn.
However, over the past four years, those kinds of opportunities have been in short supply. We're experiencing the worst recovery since the Great Depression. Unemployment has been above 8% for 43 straight months; 47 million Americans are on food stamps. Nearly one in six Americans now live in poverty.
Under President Obama, we have a stagnant economy that fosters government dependency. My policies will create a growing economy that fosters upward mobility.
Government has a role to play here. Right now, our nation's citizens do need help from government. But it is a very different kind of help than what President Obama wants to provide.
My experience has taught me that government works best when it creates the space for individuals and families to pursue success and achieve great things. Economic freedom is the only force that has consistently succeeded in creating sustained prosperity and lifting people out of poverty. It is why our economy rose to rival those of the world's leading powers -- and has long since surpassed them all.
The dreamers and the entrepreneurs, not government, built this economy, and they can once again make it strong.
My course for the American economy will encourage private investment and personal freedom. Instead of creating a web of dependency, I will pursue policies that grow our economy and lift Americans out of poverty.
My five-point plan will deliver the economic recovery we've all been waiting for and the jobs millions of Americans still need. This can be more than our hope; it can be our future. And it can start this November with your vote.
September 18, 2012 6:38 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican Mitt Romney, in describing nearly half of Americans as being docile dependents of the state, and saying it's a "foreign concept" for government to redistribute income, is outlining a philosophy that's not only sharply at odds with President Barack Obama's views. It's also difficult to square with the facts of how Social Security, Medicare, the tax code and scores of other institutions work.
Romney's claim that 47 percent of Americans won't take "personal responsibility," which he linked to their failure to owe federal income taxes, instantly crystalized his philosophical differences with Obama when the remarks came to light Monday.
Romney, trying to control the message amid widespread criticism, went further on Tuesday. He told Fox News that it's "an entirely foreign concept" for government to "take from some to give to the others."
The remarks echoed complaints often raised by conservative groups, including tea party activists, who denounce "redistribution of wealth."
But the remarks overlook basic facts, such as how the costly and popular Social Security and Medicare programs shift billions of dollars from younger people - who pay payroll taxes - to older people, who receive the benefits.
Similarly, the nation's progressive income tax system requires wealthy people to pay proportionately more, shifting some of their wealth to poorer people in the form of government services and welfare.
Federal excise taxes, along with sales taxes imposed by many states, work in the other direction, regressively. Because they are levied without regard to the payer's income, they take a disproportionately larger bite from poor people.
In the Fox interview, Romney took a calculated risk that most voters resent, or can be coaxed to resent, the government's redistributive role, even if millions benefit from it, and it's central to the entire federal system.
Some conservative activists, originally tepid about Romney, cheered his much-debate remarks about the "47 percent."
"The Mitt UNPLUGGED and UNPROGRAMMED by staff & `experts' won in biz & can win the presidency," said talk show Laura Ingraham via Twitter.
Romney's remarks sharpened his philosophical differences with Obama as the campaign enters its last 50 days.
Obama talks much more than Romney does about society's responsibility to help the needy. His it-takes-a-village approach depicts government as a force for good - not only for the downtrodden, but also for entrepreneurs who rely on public schools, roads, police and firefighters to build their businesses.
"We have some obligations to each other," Obama told CBS's David Letterman on Tuesday. There's "nothing wrong with giving each other a hand."
Romney often portrays government as an over-regulating, over-taxing nuisance that hampers hard-charging "job creators." In the secretly recorded remarks to Florida donors in May, Romney described nearly half of all Americans as people "who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it."
He was referring to the roughly 46 percent of Americans who pay no federal income tax, although many of them pay sales taxes, payroll taxes, and state, local and excise taxes.
"So our message of lower taxes doesn't connect," Romney said at the May fundraiser. "And so my job is not to worry about those people," he said. "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
Democrats, and some Republicans, noted that these Americans include millions of elderly people, military personnel and working-class parents.
They also include a handful of very wealthy people. The IRS reported that, thanks to complex tax breaks, six of the 400 highest-earning families in 2009 owed no federal income taxes.
The week's events seem to be widening the philosophical gap between Obama and Romney.
In truth, both visions of America - as a society that cares for its elderly and downtrodden, and a society fueled by hard-working, self-reliant people trying to get ahead - have deep roots in the nation's history.
But recent events have made the two visions appear more at odds than they truly are.
The Great Recession of 2007-2009 contributed to big spikes in food stamp use, now about 48 million. The median U.S. household lost nearly 39 percent of its wealth from 2007 to 2010.
At roughly the same time, the tea party movement accelerated the Republican Party's shift toward a more solidly anti-tax posture. Refusal to raise taxes - even on the wealthiest Americans, and even in the name of slowing the federal debt's dramatic growth - has become a priority for many Republicans, especially in the House.
Democrats, meanwhile, note that federal taxes, as a share of the total economy, are at their lowest level in 60 years.
Some conservatives say the number of Americans receiving government benefits, and not paying income taxes, is alarming. Nearly half of all Americans receive some form of direct federal benefit.
More than a quarter of Americans are on Medicaid, 16 percent receive Social Security, 15 percent are on Medicare, and nearly 16 percent receive food stamps.
"When the number of people riding in the wagon outnumber the people pulling the wagon, how do you ever reform?" said Dan Mitchell, an economist for the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute.
Neera Tanden, head of the Democratic-oriented Center for American Progress, called that "a complete misunderstanding" of society. Americans, she said, "are the most religious, most hard-working people in the world. ... We are a nation of strivers."
The United States trails other industrialized countries, she said, "in the support that government provides to people. We are among the stingiest in the world."
In 1998, when he was an Illinois state senator, Obama told a college audience: "The trick is figuring out how we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution, because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody has a shot."
Obama and Romney are giving American voters one of the most clear-cut philosophical choices in recent presidential history.
BOSTON HERALD: Mitt’s right: Handouts do win votes
September 19, 2012 12:17 AM
Mitt Romney’s only mistake was lumping together all of the 47 percent who don’t pay income taxes.
A lot of them are elderly, and many of them are voting for Mitt. And there are some people who work, but just don’t make a lot of money, or who would be working if they weren’t legitimately disabled.
But the indisputable fact is, a huge percentage of Obama’s voters are basically wards of the state. There are millions of them, and they have no intention of voting for anyone who might want them to ever go out and work for a living — “no matter what.”
As Romney said in Boca Raton last May: “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
He’s right. Remember the women in Detroit who were lining up for “Obama bucks” right after the inauguration in 2009. A radio reporter asked them where they thought the money was coming from, and one of them guessed it was from Obama’s “stash. I don’t know. But he givin’ it to us. We love him!”
Who do you suppose those women will be voting for Nov. 6?
Undoubtedly the same candidate as the woman in Orlando who was videotaped at a 2008 rally for Democrats saying that once Obama got in, “I won’t have to worry about putting gas in my car, I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage.”
This is nothing new. There’s a classic book that’s taught, or used to be taught, in college political science classes. “Democracy in America” — it was written more than 150 years ago by a Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville. He had the same take as Mitt on what has become the American welfare state:
“A democracy ... can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy.”
Can someone say QE3, the Fed’s third round of so-called quantitative easing?
Anyone who doesn’t think the welfare-industrial complex is trying to increase dependency isn’t paying attention. Last weekend in Arlington, someone handed me a letter from the superintendent of a school system north of Boston that’s trying to get more kids onto the town’s free lunch program.
“In an effort to increase participation in the program,” the superintendent wrote in boldface, “any family that completes a free/reduced lunch application by September 21, 2012, will be entered into a drawing on Monday, October 5 for a chance to win one of two iPads.”
Get on welfare, get a free iPad. It may not be PC to say it, but Mitt Romney is on to something here.
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Long-term, Romney's GM plan would have been better
September 19, 2012 3:01 AM
Vice President Biden has proudly proclaimed that "Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive." That may be true for now, but GM's life remains in plenty of danger.
GM was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2009. President Obama noted that if GM went out of business, hundreds of thousands of jobs would be lost. GM employs about 200,000 people. And since companies that supply parts to GM would also either close or dramatically reduce production, the ripple effect would cause another few hundred thousand jobs to be lost.
So Obama committed about $80 billion of taxpayers' money to save GM. Although much has been repaid, the final price tag for taxpayers will be about $25 billion. But if it keeps GM in business, the president has said, it was a worthwhile investment for taxpayers.
Republican candidate Mitt Romney says he would have allowed GM to file for bankruptcy protection without any taxpayer assistance. He has been ridiculed for this position, and indeed it is likely to result in Obama's winning the key battleground states of Ohio and Michigan. But the reality is that Romney's position was more likely to result in long-term health for GM and the saving of more jobs here in the United States.
GM was a bankrupt firm because its cash flow was not sufficient to cover expenses. The reasons for this were that (1) the great recession reduced demand for cars, so GM sold far fewer; and (2) expenses were far too high, primarily because GM's labor costs were about $80 per hour, while other auto companies had labor costs of about $40 per hour.
As a condition for the funding that the president provided, GM had to reduce labor costs to the $60-per-hour range and protect the retirement packages of its employees. It did this through a prenegotiated bankruptcy filing approved by Obama and eventually the bankruptcy court. While this temporarily saved GM, it probably won't work in the long term.
The reason will be that GM's labor costs are still too high, and the company makes cars that consumers do not really want. We see today that, even with an occasionally good rate of monthly sales, the long-term prospects remain dim, as the company's market share has dropped from a high of 48 percent to less than 18 percent today. Within the next year or so, GM will likely face another crisis that could threaten its existence.
Ironically, had Obama not intervened, GM would have a greater chance of future success. Romney, an experienced businessman who has successfully dealt with situations like GM's in the past, had a better plan. By allowing GM to seek bankruptcy protection free of taxpayer intervention, he would have forced the company to reorganize in a manner that would increase its chances of future success, in contrast to Obama's approach, which limited their options.
Romney's plan would have had the labor contracts renegotiated and approved solely by the bankruptcy court based on economic rather than political considerations. The GM that emerged from bankruptcy would have raised capital in the private sector, where stockholders (owners) would have insisted that GM use its resources to build cars that consumers want, rather than cars the government wants and that few people actually purchased. The Chevy Volt, for instance, is an electric car approved for production and subsidized by the Obama administration. Unfortunately, consumers aren't buying it, and production has been halted.
While Obama's actions appear to have saved GM, the reality is that he simply kicked the real bankruptcy down the road. The jobs that Obama claims to have saved are mostly overseas, as about 140,000 of the 200,000 GM employees work outside of the United States. And it is likely that the taxpayers will lose about $25 billion from this failed bailout.
Romney would have saved the taxpayers $25 billion by allowing GM to go through the same bankruptcy that any other firm faces when it is mismanaged and the economy is weak. The result would have been a leaner GM, with more reasonable labor costs and a line of products that consumers actually want to buy. And there would be a brighter future.
CNBC NEWS: Romney Is Right—US Must Get Tough With China: Morici
September 17, 2012 10:00 AM
Governor Romney is right. The United States must get tough with China to restore growth and good paying jobs.
The idea behind free trade appears compelling. Let each nation specialize in what it does best to raise productivity and incomes. But Americans don’t share in those benefits, because President Obama lets China and others cheat on the rules, with only token opposition at the World Trade Organization. (Read More: U.S. to File WTO Case Against China Over Cars)
Through the WTO, industrialized nations have greatly reduced tariffs and limited domestic policies that discriminate against imports or artificially boost exports. However, to optimize trade and create good jobs for all, every nation must play by the same rules, and exchange rates—which translate prices for U.S. goods into yuan [CNY=X 6.317 0.0025 (+0.04%) ], euro [EUR=X 1.3144 0.0017 (+0.13% ] and the like—must be free to adjust to reflect differences in national production costs. (Read More: Brusca: The ‘Truth’ and Consequences of China’s Data)
Exchange rates are established in markets, where exporters, importers and investors buy and sell currencies needed to conduct international commerce. Unfortunately, China and other Asian governments blatantly manipulate those markets. Lacking a credible American response, this has ruinous consequences for growth and American workers.
Also, Beijing imposes high tariffs—for example, about 25 percent on autos— subsidizes exports, requires state agencies and enterprises to buy Chinese products, and refuses to adequately protect U.S. patents and copyrights.
These promote Chinese manufacturing in industries where high productivity and superior product designs would make American goods more competitive. It compels companies like GM [GM 23.89 -0.25 (-1.04% ] and Apple [AAPL 698.10 6.82 (+0.99%)] to locate facilities in China and give away know-how to Chinese partners in Beijing mandated joint-ventures. Ultimately, U.S. companies heavily invested in China become apologists for Chinese policies, and work to block meaningful U.S. actions in defense of American workers.
The United States annually exports $2.2 trillion in goods and services, and these finance a like amount of imports. This raises U.S. gross domestic product by about $220 billion, because workers are about 10 percent more productive in export industries, such as software, than in import-competing industries, such as apparel. (Read More: China, Japan Can't Afford to Let Crisis Worsen: Pros)
Unfortunately, U.S. imports exceed exports by nearly $600 billion, and workers released from making those products go into non-trade-competing industries, such as retailing, where productivity is at least 50 percent lower.
If they can’t find work, this slashes GDP by at least $300 billion, overwhelming the gains from trade, and forces workers to accept lower wages. In actual fact, that appears to be what is happening.
Currency manipulation creates as much as a huge subsidy on Chinese exports. Other Asian countries are impelled to follow similar policies, lest their exports become uncompetitive with Chinese products. (Read More: Chinese Billionaires Lost a Third of Wealth in Past Year, Study Shows)
Huge trade imbalances between Asia and the West, perpetuated by currency manipulation and protectionism reduce demand for the goods and services produced in the United States and Europe.
To keep the U.S. economy going, Americans must both borrow from foreigners and spend too much, as they did through 2008, or their government must amass huge budget deficits by borrowing from abroad, as it is now.
In the bargain, the United States sends manufacturing jobs to Asia that would be competitive in the United States, but for rigged exchange rates and other mercantilism.
The trade deficit directly slices $600 billion off GDP, and nearly $1 trillion through the multiplier effects usually associated with a permanent boost in spending or a tax cut.
Americans lose 10 million jobs and wages sink, and that’s what is destroying the middle class.
Campaigning in 2008, Barack Obama promised to deal with Chinese currency manipulation and protectionism, but he has failed beyond token complaints to the WTO.
It will be impossible for the United States to create the 14 million jobs needed to bring unemployment down to pre-recession levels without taking on China.
For that Americans need another president—one with the courage to stand up to China.
Boston, MA – Today, Romney for President released a new television advertisement titled “War On Coal.” President Obama is ruining the coal industry and it’s affecting real people across the country. We have 250 years of coal. Why wouldn’t we use it?
To View “War On Coal,” Please See: http://mi.tt/RoxMwY
AD FACTS: Script For “War On Coal”:
MAN: “Obama’s ruining the coal industry.”
MAN: “Policies that the current administration’s got is attacking my livelihood.”
MAN: “They’re wanting to close these mines down. I got little ones at home—a wife that’s needing me.”
MITT ROMNEY: “We have 250 years of coal. Why wouldn’t we use it?”
MITT ROMNEY: “Utility bills are up.”
MITT ROMNEY: “People wonder how they’re going to have a brighter future, if they can’t see how they can make it to the end of the next month.”
MITT ROMNEY: “I’m Mitt Romney and I approved this message.”
The Washington Post
September 18, 2012 2:48 PM
DOVER, N.H. — Jack Kimball has a message for the Romney-Ryan campaign: “I think it’s time to take the gloves off.”
Kimball is the tea party-backed former New Hampshire Republican Party chairman who resigned last year amid pressure from members of his party. He made an unexpected appearance Tuesday morning in the crowd at Paul Ryan’s second solo town hall meeting.
At a moment when the Romney-Ryan campaign is weathering a tough several weeks due to a series of unforced errors — including Romney’s statement criticizing Obama in the wake of last week’s attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in the Middle East and the release on Monday of a video showing Romney appearing to write off the “47 percent” of Americans who pay zero income tax — Kimball’s advice might seem counter-intuitive.
But if the New Hampshire crowd’s standing ovation for Kimball’s suggestion was anything to go by, take the gloves off — and continue to make remarks that rally the GOP base — is precisely what supporters want the Romney-Ryan ticket to do.
“The country is thirsting for this, believe me,” Kimball, a businessman who chairs the Granite State Patriots Liberty PAC, told the cheering crowd at McConnell Community Center. “All of the people in here are thirsting for this in the Live Free or Die State, and all the prior military men and active duty folks are thirsting for this.”
He added: “You’ve got six or seven weeks. We know you can do it. We know we have it in us, and we have to have the two of you in office, there’s no ifs, ands or buts about it.”
Several attendees at Tuesday’s town hall meeting expressed agreement with Romney’s “47 percent” remark. Others said they had no opinion on the statement. But none expressed the kind of criticism of the remark that has been prevalent in national media coverage in the nearly 24 hours since the Romney fundraiser video became public.
That would suggest that for all the backlash among pundits for the campaign’s recent missteps, Romney’s statements on the Middle East demonstrations and those who pay no income tax could help him energize members of the GOP base.
Might Romney and Ryan, then, take Kimball’s advice and double down on the heated rhetoric?
There have been signs that they already are. Romney last week followed up his criticism of the Obama administration’s response to the attacks in Libya and Egypt with an even more critical statement the next day.
And at Tuesday’s town hall, Ryan appeared to tread carefully between appealing to the many tea party supporters in the crowd and not carrying his criticism of Obama out of bounds.
One woman in the crowd introduced herself as a registered Independent who “wasn’t too sure about the Romney ticket” but decided to back Romney and Ryan because “I decided that I want Obama out.” She cited the Supreme Court’s ruling on the national health-care law and told Ryan, “I was again shocked and disillusioned, thinking, ‘Are we going to turn into a socialistic country?’ I’m terrified. I really am.”
Ryan nodded as the woman spoke, then responded: “I understand exactly what you’re saying.”
He went on to reprise a line about Obama that he and Romney have often used on the trail, imploring the audience to “imagine what he will do just in implementing the rest of Obamacare if he never has to ever face a voter ever again and he gets reelected.”
“It just puts a chill down the spine,” Ryan said.
Another man in the crowd stood up and prefaced his question by asking, “What’s wrong with the Obama economy? It is, I would say, everything.”
“He’s devastating our economy and this nation, and I think he’s doing it intentionally,” the man said.
Ryan again stood and nodded as the man finished his question, which was about zoning issues; then he gave a response that centered on the “desire of the administration to more federalize those things like zoning and building codes that are more left to local government.”
Several times in his remarks — more than he typically has done at recent events on the trail — Ryan referred to the notion of government dependency, the concept on which Romney was expounding when he made his ill-fated fundraiser remarks.
He told the crowd that he and Romney are concerned about “more and more people becoming net dependent upon the government than upon themselves, because by promoting more dependency, by not having jobs and economic growth, people miss their potential.”
“We should not be measuring the progress of our social programs, of programs like food stamps, based upon how many people receive them,” he said to cheers. “We should be measuring the progress of our social programs by how many people we transition off of them into lives of self-sufficiency and jobs and upward mobility. ... So our goal, our mission is to address the root causes of poverty instead of simply treating the symptoms of poverty.”
There were also two other noteworthy aspects of Tuesday’s town hall. It featured a giant debt clock such as the one on display at last month’s GOP national convention. And the town hall marked the second Ryan event in recent days at which a biographical video of Romney was played. The widely-hailed video was played at the Tampa convention but was shown too early to make it into the networks’ prime-time coverage — a point that some GOP donors have griped about in the weeks since the convention.
Whether or not Ryan’s town hall remarks were a subtle pivot to appeal to the GOP base remains an open question, as is the potential impact of doubling down on Romney’s recent remarks. (Polls have shown this week that Romney’s criticism of Obama in the wake of last week’s attacks, for instance, was unpopular among the broader American public.)
But some of those present on Tuesday said that — contrary to what pundits and others have said — they believe more tough rhetoric from Romney is exactly what his campaign needs right now.
“I’m afraid he needs to be a little bit more aggressive,” Janet Leary, a 67-year-old retired registered nurse and lifelong Republican from Kingston, N.H., said of Romney. “Obama’s coming on strong now.”
Leary noted that two of her relatives are out of work and struggling to find jobs. “He really needs to push the point that we’re not better off,” she said of Romney.
Kimball, for his part, said in an interview after the event that Romney’s remarks on last week’s attacks abroad are the type of message that the campaign needs to focus on making.
“A good example and a tangible example would be Mitt Romney’s commentary after the murders at the embassy,” Kimball said when asked how, in particular, Romney and Ryan should “take the gloves off.”
“His commentary was right on, as far as I was concerned. He got heavily criticized by the press on that. I watched that whole thing. ... Any of the things that clearly are things that they disagree with with the administration, to come out forcefully and let everybody know – not only to be against them, but what they would do differently,” he added.