Mitt Romney’s campaign has so far focused on his managerial side to the detriment of compelling personal stories that might humanize him in the eyes of voters. While many have heard of how Romney put the family dog in a crate on the roof of a car for a drive to Canada, few know he shut down Bain Capital so staff could aid in the search for the 14-year-old daughter of one of the partners, The Washington Post
Romney also spent years counseling fellow Mormons on family issues, helping the unemployed, and ministering to the sick. Such stories could help Romney as his campaign shifts to focus on President Barack Obama who holds a 2-to-l advantage in likeability, the Post reported.
The image that has stuck is that Romney is rich, distant, and stiff. “It is so funny to me that that is the perception out there because he is funny, he is engaging, he is witty,” his wife Ann said in a recent interview. “He is always playing jokes. When I met him as a teenager, he was the life of the party.”
So far the campaign has stressed their economic message. “This is not a ‘Seinfeld’ race,” chief strategist Stuart Stevens told the Post. “This is not a race about nothing.”
“People care about what you’re going to do for them,” he added. “Will you be a strong leader? Will you be someone who is going to help me get a job? Will you be someone who’s going to change the direction of the country? How off-putting is it when you meet someone for the first time and they pull out their family pictures and say, ‘Let me tell you about my trip to the Grand Canyon’? No, you talk about mutual interests.”
However, change may be on the way. Romney plans to mention the personal side in speeches and he, along with family members, are expected to participate in magazine and television profiles, the Post reported.
How it will work out is uncertain. Alex Castellanos, who worked on media strategy with Romney in 2008, told the Post, “He’s a private man in a public world. These days, where every intimate thing in your life is somehow exposed on television, it’s like Madonna. If it doesn’t happen in front of people, it didn’t happen. But Mitt Romney is old school.”
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