Schoen: Romney Long Way From Closing 'Likeability' Gap

Tuesday, 24 Apr 2012 11:25 PM

By Paul Scicchitano

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Political analyst and Democratic pollster Doug Schoen tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview that Mitt Romney took the first steps in outlining his vision for America on Tuesday night, but that the presumptive GOP nominee still has a long way to go to have that vision “indelibly etched” in the minds of voters.

“It is the first step in the right direction for him. But he’s got a long way to go to have that vision indelibly etched in the minds of the American people — and then a longer way to go further still to close the likeability gap,” declared Schoen as Romney added five more primary notches to his ever expanding campaign belt — New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware.

“This is a process and a journey — not a stop on the path to the nomination,” Schoen explained. “He’s going to have to do this for the next four months repeatedly to make people like him more, listen to him more, and find his world view as their dislike for the policies and results achieved by Barack Obama.”

Schoen and other political analysts had been critical of Romney’s apparent lack of a clearly defined vision for America as the former Massachusetts governor continued to moved ever close to the 1,144 delegates need to clinch the GOP nomination for president.

GOP political strategist Bradley Blakeman tells Newsmax that he viewed Romney’s speech as “Reaganesque” and that it evoked a sense of hope for voters.

“I thought it was a great speech. It was very helpful. It was very Reaganesque. It was optimistic,” he explained. “We’re not in very optimistic times when the majority of Americans feel we’re going down the wrong track, or they’re not better off than they were three years ago. You know it’s easy to complain about how bad things are. People know how bad things are.”

Blakeman, who like Schoen is a Newsmax contributor, urged Romney to name his vice presidential running mate ahead of the GOP convention in August.

Schoen disagreed that such a strategy would ultimately benefit Republicans. “He’s got to wait because the one thing we know about vice presidents is that they galvanize the public when they’re chosen,” said Schoen. “They produce a short-term bounce . . . and this will be the only real news that’s made, and he needs to hold it in abeyance until the convention the last week in August.”

One surprise on the evening came from former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum who managed to garner nearly 20 percent of the vote in his home state of Pennsylvania even after suspending his campaign.

“That’s not too shabby especially when he’s been out of the race,” observed Blakeman. Appearing on CNN, Santorum stopped short of formally endorsing his former rival but acknowledged that “it’s very clear that he’s going to be the Republican nominee and I’m going to be for the Republican nominee and we’re going to do everything we can to defeat Barack Obama.”

In his remarks, Romney told supporters that the election is “still about the economy — and we’re not stupid.” He attempted to show the contrast between his vision for America and that of President Obama, which has government at the center.

“It dispenses the benefits, borrows what it can’t take, consumes a greater and greater share of the economy,” said Romney. “With Obamacare fully installed, government would have control of almost half of the economy and we would have effectively ceased to be a free enterprise society.”

In contrast, Romney said that he sees an America “with a growing middle class, with rising standards of living” and he said his America is a place where children can be even more successful than their parents — “some successful even beyond their wildest dreams.”

Attempting to paint a more human side to his campaign, Romney talked of his father’s rise from poverty — from selling paint from the trunk of his car — to running one of the “great” car companies in the United States, and ultimately serving as governor of Michigan.

“I have a very different vision for America and for our future,” Romney said, comparing his vision to Obama’s. “It’s an America driven by freedom — where free people pursuing happiness in their own unique ways create free enterprises that employ more and more Americans. And because there’s so many enterprises that are succeeding, the competition for hard-working, educated, skilled employees is intense so wages and salaries rise.”

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