Political strategist Karl Rove says presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney must lay out a clear vision of what he intends to do to right the nation’s moribund economy in order to win the presidency.
“The challenge for Mitt Romney is to find a way between now and the November elections to systematically lay out what it is that he will do in order to get the economy growing again,” the former political adviser to President George W. Bush said Thursday night on Fox News’ “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.”
“He needs to say it in terms that Americans can get their hands around, and say it in a way they can get comfortable with it,” Rove said.
Rove noted Romney cannot afford to wait to see how “the numbers” on the economy will play out between now and the election.
“The numbers themselves will have an impact,” he said. “But at the end of the day it will be the numbers themselves, plus a vision on the part of Mitt Romney that will decide whether or not he wins.”
In the interview with Van Susteren, Rove also addressed President Barack Obama’s statement Wednesday in favor of same-sex marriage.
Rove said it could have some impact on voters in a couple of battleground states, such as North Carolina, where African-American voters just played a big role in the rejection of an amendment on gay marriage by a 2-to-1 margin.
But overall, Rove insisted that jobs and the economy would be the issue that decides the election for both candidates.
“Every poll you see has the economy and jobs way out in front of any other issue,” he said. “Everything pales by significance.”
Citing recent government reports and polls, Rove ticked off some numbers showing a shrinking workforce due to unemployment, a lack of confidence in the Obama administration’s economic policies, and growing view among likely voters that Romney may be better able than Obama to get the country back on track.
“This is why team Obama wants to do anything but talk about jobs and the economy, and what we’re going to do to get our country growing again,” Rove said.
In order for the president to win re-election, Rove added, he’s going to have to do more than simply paint Romney as “rich guy who only cares about rich people.”
Rove said there was still plenty of time for both candidates to make their cases.
But he added they would have to present a “clear-eyed idea of what they want to talk about and when they want to talk about it, and then go deliver that in a way that gets inside the hearts and minds of Americans.”
It’s a big challenge for both, he said, because Obama has a record to deal with, and Romney has to lay out an alternative vision that resonates with voters.
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