The Republican presidential candidate needs to seize the moment and show people “the real Mitt Romney” while the spotlight is on the GOP convention in Tampa, a top party official told Newsmax.TV on Monday.
Al Cardenas, chairman of the Conservative Political Union, hailed the news that Romney and President Barack Obama are now basically even in the polls.
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“The majority of Americans, vast majority, think the country’s headed in a wrong direction,” Cardenas told Newsmax.TV. But he added that many Americans still don’t know enough about Romney.
“People need to see the real Mitt Romney and if we can accomplish that through the surrogates and his families and himself here at the convention, he’ll break through,” Cardenas told Newsmax.TV.
“The only thing holding him back is people’s lack of understanding of what makes Mitt Romney who he is.”
Cardenas praised Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, calling the Wisconsin congressman “an ideal pick.”
“Mitt Romney is a get-to-the-root-of-the-problem, solve it and move on and Paul Ryan is that kind of numbers-crunching, smart, focused, kind of disciplined budget chief that Mitt needs as his running mate to in order to solve the problems of the country,” Cardenas said, adding, “Paul Ryan’s a perfect fit.”
A Cuban-American, Cardenas said he did not consider Romney to have snubbed Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who had been considered a top candidate for the VP slot.
“There [were] four or five finalists, all of whom were great candidates. And my sense is that, you know, Paul had been in Congress a bit longer, he’d been here 14 years, he’d risen to a position of chief of the budget process and Mitt just felt like Paul had been at this for a while longer,” Cardenas said, adding that “Marco’s got a great future.”
He said he agreed with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush that Romney should reach out more to the country’s Hispanic voters.
“Mitt came from Massachusetts. There just aren’t that many Hispanics there so it’s a world that they both need to meet. The Hispanic world needs to meet Mitt and Mitt needs to meet them better. This convention has some great Hispanic surrogates and it will begin that process of doing what he needs to do to improve the score.”
Cardenas said he agreed with Bush, who said this weekend that Obama was trying to blame too many of America’s problems on his predecessor, former President George W. Bush.
“Everybody says, look, he [Obama] took over a tough set of circumstances, but without a doubt you’ve made it worse. You know, the price of gas is double what it was; the unemployment rate’s worse than when you took over; there are now 23 million unemployed or unemployable Americans; the debt’s doubled since you became president. He’s just made a mess out of a difficult set of circumstances.”
Cardenas said he did not know if Tropical Storm Isaac will disrupt the RNC, even though fears about the storm prompted the RNC to postpone much of Monday’s schedule.
“When we first got here, we thought the eye of the hurricane was going to come straight at Tampa Bay and this convention and, fortunately, it’s headed out west, far further west than we imagined. And so, we’re going to have a normal convention, a good convention and now our prayers go to folks in the Gulf Coast area and see what develops there,” he said.
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