Potential GOP presidential candidates for 2016 are doing whatever they can to separate themselves from 2012 party nominee Mitt Romney, in hopes of creating a better connection with working-class Americans.
According to The Hill
, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, along with Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, have all adopted a more populist tone by reaching out to low-income voters during their visits to the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, apparently believing that Romney did not do enough to woo them.
Santorum, for example, said at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames
, Iowa last Saturday, "We can’t just celebrate the job creators, we have to celebrate the job holders and we have to have a message for them. "
"My challenge to the Republican Party is to take a page out of our book and start putting forth an agenda of ideas to raise up folks who want to vote for us," he added.
"You saw from the last election, they don’t want to vote for President Obama, but at least he went out and talked to them. At least he went out and spoke about them. We didn't do that. We marginalized them. "
Cruz also addressed the Family Leadership summit
, saying, "Every policy we think about, we talk about, should focus like a laser on opportunity, on easing the means of ascent up the economic ladder — on how it impacts the least well off among us."
On a recent trip to the crucial primary state of New Hampshire, Paul also called on the Republican Party to be more inclusive.
"We're going to win when we look like America," he reportedly told an audience at a GOP dinner. "We need to be white; we need to be brown; we need to be black; we need to be with tattoos, without tattoos, with ponytails, without ponytails, with beards, without. "
"We need to be that party that can express it in a way that shows that we care about people. We need to care about people even if they are on government assistance," he continued, according to the Hill.
Sean Trende, the senior elections analyst for RealClearPoltiics, told The Hill that all three are "getting at the idea that Mitt Romney's campaign was trying to corral the small-business vote, which is probably already pretty well corralled for the GOP, but . . . offered nothing to any other group in America."
Republican strategist Ford O'Connell, who worked on Arizona Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, told the Hill, "Since 2005, the biggest problem in the Republican Party, with respect to connecting with voters, has been language."
He said Republican politicians are finally learning that "if they watch their language and use a populist tone, they do a heck of a lot better job."
"And the reason is most people don't know the mechanics of policy," he added.
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