Almost overnight the political soda can has been shaken and the top has popped off. The question talking heads are asking is: Will Mitt Romney fizz or fizzle?
● Inside the political soda can…
Governor Mitt Romney re-worked his schedule so he could participate in Senator Jim Demint’s Palmetto Freedom Forum, likewise on taking part in a Labor Day Tea Party Express Rally. Then, Governor Sarah Palin announced she will also be at the same Tea Party rally (glad to hear she’ll be there) and *Freedom Works has decided to protest Romney’s appearance at the Tea Party. In the meantime, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) told the Tea Party folks where to go and unvetted Rick Perry remains in the spotlight.
Romney said he’d shift gears when August became a summer memory. That’s exactly what he’s doing. There’s a whole lot of speculation going on out there on how he adapts to the present GOP carbonation:
Rick Perry’s surge in the polls is prompting some high-profile Mitt Romney backers to urge the former Massachusetts governor to step up his efforts before it’s too late.
Romney’s high command said that was always the plan – and that they expect to engage Perry during next month’s debates, which will usher in the stretch run of the GOP presidential campaign.
The former Massachusetts governor will also accelerate his pace starting this Labor Day weekend, say campaign officials.
Romney will attend a Tea Party rally in Concord, New Hampshire, on Sunday, a Monday morning pancake breakfast in Manchester and then fly to South Carolina to attend a candidate forum put on by Sen. Jim DeMint.
Romney had originally indicated he would not attend the DeMint event, but he changed his mind after having a conversation with the influential conservative.
“He’s a good friend and we wanted to do what we could to make it work,” said senior Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom of their change of heart. DeMint was a key Romney backer in 2008, but is holding out this election cycle. Romney’s reconsideration suggests that the South Carolinian hasn’t ruled out endorsing the former governor again.
Fehrnstrom said Romney will also conduct a more aggressive media strategy beginning next month, appearing more frequently on cable TV news and conducting local TV interviews in early primary states.
“You’ll see him take it up a notch,” said the adviser.
Further, Romney aides said the campaign plans to roll out more endorsements, and work internally to bolster their grassroots effort, identifying more committed voters and building coalitions.
September will also likely mark the first open skirmishing between Romney and Perry, as they prepare to face off, along with the rest of the GOP field, for the first time at three debates.
“A lot of the comparing and contrasting will take place on stage at the debates,” said Fehrnstrom, adding that Romney’s primary focus will still be “President Obama and his failures.”
But Romney officials believe it’s inevitable that they’ll clash with Perry – in part because the brash Texan will give them an opportunity.
“Perry will throw the first punch,” predicted a top Romney aide. “He can’t help himself.”
● Others weigh in…
“Perry has certainly changed the mix of the race,” said former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, a Romney supporter and fundraiser. “I do think [Romney] needs to step it up several notches. The low-key campaign has served well him well to this point, but coming out of Labor Day he needs to be a lot more aggressive. The low-profile strategy is not going to work this fall.”
“The world has changed in the primary,” said veteran GOP consultant Mike Murphy, who worked for Romney in his 2002 gubernatorial race. “They have to decide how and where they beat Perry. The passive strategy – where they have name ID and none of their opponents do – is not working anymore.”
● Playing it by ear…
But Romney’s gurus point to three important but as yet unknown factors to explain why they’re not ready to reach for their rifle.
As long as the final field remains uncertain, the caucus and primary calendar unset and Perry’s ability to hold up over a series of debates and heightened media scrutiny unknown, they say they’re reluctant to make any hard and fast strategic decisions.
In state-by-state terms, this means they’re going to keep playing wait-and-see in Iowa and South Carolina, where they’ve limited Romney’s presence this year, until it becomes more clear who will be in the mix.
Should Sarah Palin decide to run and Bachmann and Rick Santorum hang in the fight, for example, Iowa could be more appealing to Romney since the GOP’s social conservative bloc would be splintered among several candidates.
“It’s all a parlor game until you know who’s in,” said a senior Romney aide of Iowa.
● Romney is ready…
[...] Romney used an appearance at the national VFW convention in San Antonio, Perry’s backyard, to say: “Career politicians got us into this mess and they simply don’t know how to get us out.”
That’s the message his campaign will carry against Perry: the Texas governor is a government lifer who lived high on the public tab and doesn’t have the private-sector experience necessary to run the country.
“What career politician has done well with the Tea Party?” asked one Romney official.
The danger for Romney, however, is that if they don’t move soon it may be too late to dissuade conservatives from backing Perry.
“In general, most tea party activists are focused on big things, like the country heading in the wrong direction, the debt, or leaving behind a weaker nation than we inherited,” said unaligned GOP strategist Todd Harris. “That’s what matters to them most, and if a candidate is right on those things, activists can be awfully forgiving of everything else. The kinds of attacks that might sink another candidate are written off as just politics as usual and virtually ignored. Once tea party activists line up behind someone, they can be awfully hard to peel off.”
(emphasis added) Continue reading here.
● Mitt Romney is in solid alignment with Tea Party fundamentals. It’s up to us to ‘pop some tops’ because Romney is ready to ‘fizz’.
Contact Tea Party Express to let them know in a friendly way that you’re happy Governor Romney will be part of their ‘Reclaiming America’ bus tour and why he is worth listening to:
Website – http://www.teapartyexpress.org/
Contact – http://www.teapartyexpress.org/contact/
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/ourcountrypac
Twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/ourcountrypac
*Drop a line to Freedom Works, while you’re at it.
Contact – http://www.freedomworks.org/contact
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► Jayde Wyatt