Mitt Romney’s advisors are orchestrating their national convention this week to show off their candidate’s softer side, in an effort to combat a summer wave of Democratic attacks that have given voters a negative picture of the Republican presidential candidate.
On Aug. 30, the night Romney will address the gathering, Olympic athletes and members of his Mormon church will give testimonials about his leadership skills. A member of the Mormon Church will also deliver the invocation.
Even the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired convention stage, which organizes described as aiming to be “America’s Living Room,” was designed to convey approachability and warmth. Thirteen high-resolution screens have been set up to broadcast quotes, pictures, and tweets complimenting the party’s message. A house band will also provide musical entertainment and a debt clock will remind voters of Romney’s commitment to fiscal discipline.
“We feel that we’re in a good place,” Romney adviser Russ Schrieffer told reporters on a conference call today. “We know that not everybody is going to agree with us all the time but we know that as a Republican party we’re going to unify and defeat Barack Obama.”
The decision to speak about Romney’s faith — a major part of his life — illustrates the extent of Republican efforts to humanize their candidate for voters. Recent polls have shown Romney with high unfavorable ratings, after a months-long onslaught of Democratic attack ads focusing on Romney’s tenure at Bain, questions about his finances, and his refusal to disclose additional tax returns.
Of course politics will also be on full display during the week. Delegates will vote to formally nominate Romney on Aug. 27, the first night of the four-day event.
The following evening, the convention will broadcast a tribute to Texas Congressman Ron Paul — an olive branch designed to satisfy loyal grassroots supporters from his two presidential primary bids. The idea, said Schrieffer, initially came from Paul backers, who threatened to try to nominate the congressman on the convention floor.