Mitt Romney must “sell America on a plan to rescue our economy” if he wants to win the White House in November, former New York congressman John LeBoutillier tells Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.
“He needs to make some changes. The way he’s going now, I could see him narrowly losing in the Electoral College a race that he should win,” LeBoutillier tells Newsmax. “He can still turn this thing around. He will turn it around.
“What is his message as a candidate to the American people about how to turn around our economy?” asked LeBoutillier. “He has yet to grab that issue in a positive way and turn people on and say, ‘Yeah, Mitt Romney is the guy to fix our economy.’
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“Hasn’t done it. Hasn’t tried to do it. He’s spent too much time attacking Obama. He needs to go in the other direction now and sell America on a plan to rescue our economy.”
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LeBoutillier said President Barack Obama is “doing a better job on offense” so far than his GOP challenger because “he’s talking about everything but his own record and everything but the lousy economy.
“He’s talking about Romney, Bain, offshore bank accounts, sending jobs overseas, why he won’t release his income taxes. He’s keeping the focus on Romney when Romney ought to be getting everybody focused only on the president’s very poor record as president.
“And whoever is talked about will be the loser in the campaign.”
LeBoutillier cited Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s steady attack that the former Massachusetts governor has not paid income taxes for a decade.
“Before he announced he was running, he should have cleaned up his own paper work,” he said. “He should have closed the accounts in Switzerland and in the Cayman Islands and brought the money home, so that couldn’t be an issue.
“He should have released 5 or 8 or 10 years of income taxes before he’s even announced that he’s running. That way, it doesn’t become an issue in the campaign.
“Harry Reid and what the Democrats have done, while maybe it’s a dirty tactic, it works,” LeBoutillier added. “It keeps an issue alive. The Republicans have fallen into the trap of talking about it. So it goes back to when is he going to release the taxes?
“And, again, that’s a day spent talking about Romney instead of a day spent talking about the president’s bad record.”
But Romney has done something right, LeBoutillier said: not wading into the Chick-fil-A controversy spawned by President Dan Cathy’s comments supporting traditional marriage that have upset gay-rights activists.
“I don’t really think it will matter because the people who are for traditional marriage – more conservative, social conservatives – they’re going to vote against Obama,” LeBoutillier said.
“They may not like Mitt Romney. They may not trust him. They think he’s a rhino, but they’ll end up voting against Obama anyway.
“The real action in this race is with independent, middle-of-the-road, swing voters who are really unhappy with both Obama and Romney. They can still be won over by Romney if he goes positive towards them.”
That will not necessarily mean selecting Florida Sen. Marco Rubio as a vice presidential running mate. “It could doom it, if he picks the wrong person – if that person has skeletons, or there’s something about that person that we didn’t know.”
“Romney’s trying to do the anti-controversial pick,” LeBoutillier added. “He wants to pick someone who, after three days, we don’t even talk about it anymore.”
One such mate could be Ohio Sen. Rob Portman or former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, he said.
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Looking ahead, the GOP challenger should consider the presidential race “at its best, tied, maybe Romney’s behind by a couple of points,” LeBoutillier said – and Romney must use the Republican National Convention this month to reintroduce himself to independents as a “non-ideological problem-solver who has spent my life solving problems,” including the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
“And now I want to run and be your president. For one dollar a year, I’m going to go to the most corrupt part of our country, Washington, D.C., where both parties have contributed to the mess we’re in. And I want to go there working directly for you, for a dollar a year. I will try to clean that mess up.’ ”
“If he said that, he will win the election,” LeBoutillier said before adding, “the odds slightly favor Romney will win.”
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