Reports of turmoil inside Romney campaign

Reports of turmoil inside Romney campaign



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — Reports have surfaced of mistakes and conflict within Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign.

Politico published the report Sunday night, pointing to top Romney strategist Stuart Stevens as a main reason for the disorganization that allegedly plagues the campaign.

Peter Wehner, a veteran of the last three Republican White Houses, was originally tapped to write the nominee's convention speech, according to Politico. His speech was scrapped eight days before it was supposed to be given, leaving staff scrambling for an alternative.

A second speech was also scrapped, reportedly leaving Stevens and Romney himself to write it, leaving the candidate almost no time to practice the speech before delivering it at the convention.

The confusion led to Romney failing to mention U.S. troops at the convention, an oversight that led to intense criticism by the candidate's rivals.

The Politico report further detailed Stevens' role in the alleged campaign disarray, with sources claiming the man runs too disorganized a ship to be successful.

"Stevens has become the leading staff scapegoat for a campaign that suddenly is behind in a race that had been expected to stay neck and neck through Nov. 6," Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei wrote for Politico.

Shortly after the story went online Sunday evening, rumors began to spread that Stevens would be booted off the campaign. Buzzfeed reporter McKay Coppins later reported there was "no truth" to the rumors, according to a senior Romney adviser.

Romney aides have stated that the former Massachusetts governor is a loyal employer, choosing to continue working with people even when they have made mistakes. The report itself makes it clear that campaign officials do not expect to drop Stevens in the future, so it is unclear where the rumors originated.

"None of this is going to be fixed," a Romney official told Politico. "This is the organization, and this is who Mitt is betting on to win. There aren't going to be further changes."

The candidate may not be changing personnel, but he is changing strategy. Romney is planning to spend the weeks leading up to the election outlining for voters how he plans to govern, the Associated Press reports.

Some who listened to Romney's speech at the RNC were disappointed by the lack of specific policy details provided, and the candidate has seen increased criticism of his unwillingness to detail a plan for the future.

Voters "know that he has a plan, which is a good thing, but we also know that they'd like to know a little bit more of the specifics, and we're going to meet the demands," Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie said.

The change in focus comes with only 50 days until the election, as Romney strategists have watched the candidate slowly slip in the polls, losing the edge he held over Pres. Obama as the candidate better equipped to deal with the federal deficit and taxes.

The campaign noted it is not changing policies or rolling out new ones — rather, it is explaining them in more detail.

"We're not rolling out new policies ... so much as we are making sure people understand when we say we can do these things, here's how we're going to get them done and these are the specifics," Gillespie said.

Other political news:

Reports of turmoil inside Romney campaign
Photo: Gallup

  • A new Gallup poll has found that the majority of Americans still say the government is doing too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses, although the number has fallen since earlier this summer. Fifty-four percent of those surveyed thought the government is doing too much, compared to a high of 61 percent earlier this summer. About 39 percent of Americans say the government should do more to solve the nation's problems.
  • A poll by the Associated Press and the National Constitution Center found more than 8 in 10 Americans support limits on the amount of money given to groups trying to influence U.S. elections. The poll came alongside a ringing endorsement by Americans of the First Amendment, with 71 percent of adults saying people should have the right to say what they please, even if their positions may be found offensive, the Associated Press reports.
  • An analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by 24/7 Wall Street found that education is a strong predictor for voter participation. The report found that voter participation in the 2008 general election among those with a bachelor's degree was 77 percent, compared to 39.4 percent among those with less than a high school education. Utah was an outlier, though. The state had the 6th-lowest voter turnout in the country at 56 percent, but is among the most highly educated, with 90.7 percent of the population having a high school diploma, Business Insider reports.

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Stephanie Grimes

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