Mitt Romney needs to use the Republican National Convention as a platform to reintroduce himself to the American people as a good father, loving husband, and proud American, Dr. Robert Watson, Professor of American Studies at Lynn University in Boca Raton Florida, tells Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.
Watson, whose school will play host to the final presidential debate before the election, said that in order for Romney to connect with undecided and independent voters he must make an emotional connection, noting that in politics, “personality trumps policy.”
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“People like to make a connection, an emotional connection with their candidate,” he said. “Think about how Democrats felt about Kennedy or most people felt about Bill Clinton or Republicans about Reagan. These guys made a visceral, emotional connection with them. People don’t make a connection with John Kerry. People don’t make a connection with Mitt Romney.
“So, on one level I think he needs to reintroduce himself to the public not as some rich, gaffe-prone guy who put his dog on the roof of his car during a vacation. He has to introduce himself as a father, a good father of successful boys, a loving and loyal husband, as an American, a proud American. So I think he has to reintroduce himself.”
Watson also said the GOP must continue to focus on the economy and not allow themselves to be distracted by other issues.
“The economy, whether it was Bush that wrecked it or whomever, Obama is now the president, he owns it,” he said. “The economy is not strong. There are good signs and there are bad signs but they need to hammer and hammer and hammer away on this. If it’s purely a debate about the economy, Romney could have an advantage. If it’s a debate about foreign policy, ending the war in Iraq, pushing stem cell research, killing Bin Laden, Obama would clearly win if the Republicans get off message.”
On other topics, Watson said:
- The whole campus is excited about hosting the debate, which will give students a “front row seat to history in the making. I’ve been saying that whether you go to Harvard or Oxford, your students are not going to get the kind of political education they’re going to get at Lynn University this fall because we’re going to be the epicenter of the political world. So everybody at Lynn has been great about it and our students are sitting on, as I said, a front row seat to this dramatic event.”
- Political conventions, while they still have funny hats, speakers and a lot of drinking, are not what they used to be. Gone are the days of backroom deals and smoke-filled rooms where people would pick the nominees. “Since about 1972, the conventions have been basically four-day-long infomercials,” he said. “They’re highly scripted; they’re sterile to make sure there’s no problems.”
- The Republican Party “has this image, a bad image, perhaps rightfully deserved, of being of, by and for old, white, rich men. Not a lot of diversity. So the Republican Party has been combing its ranks to find as many women, African American, Latino speakers as they can.” As a result, the party will feature a number of new faces, such as Sen. Mark Rubio and Gov. Nikki Haley that will be “a little younger, more diverse, to try to reach out to that critical voting bloc, the Latino voting bloc and the women’s voting bloc.”
- The GOP will get a two to six point bump in the polls from the convention.
- The election is “going to be close no matter what. The biggest swing state is Florida. … I really think this thing is going to come down to one or two states. Either way it’s going to be a nail biter, could be a historic election much like 1960, 2000 some of these other real nail biters.”
- If forced to predict a winner, Watson said, “Obama by one state. It’s going to be close.”
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