Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has maintained his status as the campaign’s front-runner with a slow and steady approach. But the former Massachusetts governor was off his game a bit this week, The Hill reports.
He had to deal with the rise of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as his chief opponent, new attacks from the Democratic Party, and a rocky interview with Fox News host Bret Baier.
“It certainly hasn’t been a good week,” Al Cardenas, chairman of the American Conservative Union, told The Hill. He worked for Romney in 2008 but is neutral this time around.
“He’s run an almost flawless race up to this point, and this week for the first time you saw a series of missteps by the campaign and the candidate,” an unaffiliated veteran Republican strategist told The Hill.
“What led him to have the bad interview is what’s dangerous — getting concerned about Gingrich, not being as disciplined and getting agitated. If these are a pattern that continues over the upcoming weeks, he could have a problem. His strength is his [message] discipline and being able to talk about the economy. If he gets undisciplined and talks about other things, that’s going to be a problem.”
In the Fox interview, Romney got agitated with questions about changes in his policy views. Baier said Romney told him afterward that his questions were “uncalled for” and “over-aggressive.”
Some Republicans say the Romney campaign over-reacted to a minor ad aired by the Democratic National Committee that was critical of him. The campaign conducted a dozen conference calls to combat the ad, giving the Democrats’ criticism more attention.
“You can tastefully gloat about the DNC deciding to target your campaign already, rather than reacting like he did,” Cardenas said.
Anyone can have a bad week, of course. So the issue for Romney is to simply right the ship quickly.
“People for the first time are seeing the campaign go through a bit of a rough patch,” the unaffiliated Republican strategist told The Hill. “If that rough week becomes a rough month, you’ve got a problem.”
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