This post was updated to reflect Romney’s interview with Telemundo
LOS ANGELES — After a week of withering criticism from fellow Republicans and conservatives, the Romney campaign said today that it is now the appropriate time in the campaign – with just 50 days until election day – to begin offering specifics on policies proposed by the candidate.
And the candidate himself denied a Politico report of disarray among his top staffers.
“I’ve got a terrific campaign,” Romney told Telemundo. “My senior campaign people work extraordinarily well together. I work well with them. Our campaign is doing well. And frankly– these process stories– take anyway from what’s really of concern to the American people, which is an unemployment rate stuck above 8%, 23 million Americans out of work– millions of Americans now in poverty. I believe there’s some two million more Hispanic Americans in poverty than when the president took office. These are the concerns people of America have. And they’re the reason that we’re in this campaign.”
But that doesn’t mean the campaign is shifting tactics a bit.
Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie called the decision as a “natural progression” of the campaign, and told reporters on a conference call they recognize that voters would “like to know a little more about the specifics,” and that the campaign is now ready to “meet the demands.”
“We do think the timing is right, at this moment, to reinforce the specifics, more specifics, about the Romney plan for a strong middle class,” he said.
The call with Gillespie came the morning after an article published by Politico reported disarray among the top advisers charged with running the campaign. Today, the campaign seemed ready to reset the message, telling reporters that Romney and his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan will take advantage of venues and use surrogates to make sure the specifics of their ideas are understood by voters before Election Day.
Gillespie made it clear that Romney and Ryan would not be unveiling new plans or policies, but instead would be offering more specifics on those already in place.
The adviser argued that this strategic retooling by the campaign is not a reaction to critics or poll numbers. Some recent polls have shown Romney down in several must-win swing states. Instead, the new approach is the “natural time” in the cycle to do this, Gillespie said.
“We believe, like I said in terms of the timing, a lot of those voters who are in the middle, and truly independent, undecided, are looking for information now,” said Gillespie. “There are a lot of Americans out there who are just now really starting to lock in and starting to look for more information and new information, and now is the time for us to provide that for them.”
Asked about recent reporters that Romney is losing his edge in polls because of his deficit plan and tax plan, Neil Newhouse, Romney’s pollster, said the deficit poll numbers reflect President Obama’s bounce from the Democrats’ convention. And on taxes, Newhouse said, “I’m not sure the voters understand the differences between the plans that Romney has and Obama has. And that’s one thing we’re committed to try and do moving forward is define the differences between the two candidates on taxes.”
Gillespie, who said that the post-convention bounce has “faded already” for the president, remained optimistic about polls without citing the campaign’s own internal polling, adding that “we’re looking at a dead heat virtually everywhere in the target states.”