Mitt Romney's campaign is finally changing its strategy after a flood of free advice following the secret tape of him writing off 47 percent of Americans. Is he going to follow any of it? "This is a classic example of the commentariat investing moments with more meaning than they deserve," writes Karl Rove in today's Wall Street Journal, in a column titled "This Too Shall Pass." But with Romney sending out the "100-percent" message Thursday night and launching a new bus tour with Paul Ryan, his campaign is clearly listening to someone. Here's how Romney's responding:
Advice: Stop doing so many fundraisers and get out on the campaign trail.
Advice-givers: Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan, and donors. "I am happy to write a check, but why are you here? Shouldn’t you be in Ohio?" a Texas donor asked Romney, according to ABC News' Jonathan Karl.
Is Mitt following it? Yes. The candidate's rescue plan is "More Mitt," Politico's Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei report. "Romney plans to dial back on fundraisers and vastly increase his personal appearances — on the stump and in ads — to convince what’s left of the undecided voters that Obama has been a disappointment and that he has a specific plan that is less risky than the status quo." Romney will have a "very intense schedule," Karl writes. The candidate will soon go on a bus tour through Ohio.
Advice: Fire people, especially top strategist Stuart Stevens.
Advice-givers: Anonymous unhappy staffers quoted in a Politico story posted Sunday night, and The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henniger, who writes, "Mr. Romney has a deserved reputation for loyalty to friends and colleagues. But his loyalty does not lie with his family, his campaign manager or even himself. More than any other election in decades, it resides with those 314 million."
Is Mitt following it? No. "This is the team," The National Review's Robert Costa reports in a story titled, "How Boston Sees Boston."
Advice: Offer more specifics.
Advice-giver: Republican senators speaking anonymously to The Hill, The Washington Post's editorial board, and The Wall Street Journal's editorial page, which said, noting there had been confusion on what parts of Obamacare Romney wants to keep, "Mr. Romney's pre-existing political calculation seems to be that he can win the election without having to explain the economic moment or even his own policies. As this flap shows, such vagueness carries its own political risks."
Is Mitt following it? Yes. "In a lot of the current survey data, there's a desire among the electorate to know more about Mitt in terms of how he would lead," a campaign official told Politico. "Over the next six weeks, the campaign is going to provide a lot more of that."
Advice: Stare into the abyss.
Advice-giver: Peggy Noonan, writing, "What should Mitt Romney do now? He should peer deep into the abyss. He should look straight into the heart of darkness where lies a Republican defeat in a year the Republican presidential candidate almost couldn’t lose."
Is Mitt following it? No. "Broadly speaking, the campaign is optimistic, as well as frustrated," The National Review's Costa writes. "They feel that they’re competitive, and that the pundits, both in the mainstream press and on the right, are overly harsh." The campaign sees the "47 percent" tape as "unhelpful and distracting, but not as a damaging, campaign-ending scandal."
Advice: Stop making gaffes.
Advice-givers: "Republican donors, activists and talking heads," according to Karl Rove, who says they have "little tolerance... for more statements by Mr. Romney that the media can depict as gaffes."
Is Mitt following it? He hopes so. But Romney will be out in public more, giving him more opportunities to gaffe it up.
Advice: Own the debates.
Advice-givers: Lots of people. Among them is Karl Rove, who writes, "The campaign's next likely inflection point will be the debates, which start Oct. 3. Both candidates will be under intense pressure. Mr. Romney, a skilled debater, must reassure voters he's up to the job of being president. Fluid and agile, Mr. Obama will be expected to command each encounter. If he doesn't, polls may slowly shift against him."
Is Mitt following it? He's trying to. Romney recently did five mock debates in 48 hours, Politico reports. And they're tough. "Sources say Romney absolutely hates being badgered, but [Obama stand-in Rob] Portman’s task has been to boost Romney’s confidence and thicken his skin," Costa writes.