At a fundraiser he thought was private, Romney outlines specific cuts and brags about the “gift” of Hilary Rosen
Romney spoke in broad terms about his desire to merge or eliminate various departments and agencies and floating HUD as a possible contender for elimination, before saying: “But I’m not going to actually go through these one by one.” He then apparently told the crowd that he would overhaul the Education department but wouldn’t eliminate it altogether, in part because trying to do so would cause severe political blowback.
Essentially, Romney was admitting to his donor friends that his goal as a candidate is to avoid letting voters see the fine print on most of his promises, lest they find something to object to. This smacks of the intentional campaign trail vagueness that he’s been accusing Obama of. It also reflects the same calculation that Democrats say defines the Paul Ryan budget blueprint that Republicans have rallied behind, a document that calls for paying for massive tax cuts by closing loopholes and ending various deductions without specifying any.
Romney also acknowledged the struggles he faces with Hispanic voters, among whom he trailed Obama by 56 points, 70 to 14 percent, in one recent survey. Here, Romney’s problems are two-fold. There’s the ultra-hardline posture on immigration he adopted in this year’s Republican primaries, and then there’s his party’s overall reputation for similar hostility. He told the donors that “we’re going to be able to get Hispanic voters” by running on the GOP’s version of the Dream Act and focusing attention on the economy.
Perhaps the most interesting nugget: Both Mitt and Ann Romney were apparently gleeful in talking about the comment from Democratic talking head Hilary Rosen that the Romney campaign pretended last week was an attack by an “Obama adviser.” Per Haake:
“It was my early birthday present for someone to be critical of me as a mother, and that was really a defining moment, and I loved it,” Mrs. Romney said.
Gov. Romney went further in engaging the so-called “war on moms” that followed in the media — upon which his campaign has been aggressively fundraising — calling it a “gift” that allowed his campaign to show contrast with Democrats in the general election’s first week.
When Romney accused Obama of keeping his real plans from voters a few weeks ago, it demonstrated his desire to wage an “I’m rubber, you’re glue” general election campaign. As Steve Benen put it at the time: “It’s a basic idea we’ve all seen many times. A politician and his or her team identify their biggest weaknesses and then start accusing their rival of being guilty of that same thing.”