Republican Mitt Romney, who has lagged in polling in critical swing states and confronted criticism for his published comments about the 47 percent of Americans who pay no taxes as well as questions from fellow Republicans about his campaign’s strategy, says he sees no need for a campaign overhaul in the remaining several weeks of the presidential contest.
“It doesn’t need a turnaround,” Romney says in an interview that CBS News’ “60 Minutes” will air Sunday night, pointing to national polling such as the Gallup daily tracking that portrays a virtual tie nationally between Romney and President Barack Obama. “Actually, we’re tied in the polls.”
“We’re all within the margin of error,” Romney says in the interview, excerpts released today by CBS. “We bounce around– week to week– day to day. There are some days we’re up. There are some days we’re down.”
“We go forward with my message, that this is a time to reinvigorate the American economy, not by expanding government and raising taxes on people, but instead by making sure government encourages entrepreneurship and innovation and gets the private sector hiring again,” the Republican presidential nominee and former governor of Massachusetts says.
CBS’s Scott Pelley presses Romney on the question of his credentials as “a turnaround artist” — Romney took charge of the financially ailing winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002 and as a co-founder and chief executive of Boston-based Bain Capital was in the business of taking troubled companies and making them more profitable.
“You’re the CEO of this campaign,” Pelley reminds Romney in the interview. “A lot of Republicans would like to know, a lot of your donors would like to know, how do you turn this thing around? You’ve got a little more than six weeks. What do you do?
“Well, it doesn’t need a turnaround,” Romney replies. “We’ve got a campaign which is tied with an incumbent president (of) the United States.”
Pelley asks about the videotape of a May 17 fundraising dinner in Florida at which Romney spoke of the 47 percent who pay no taxes as “victims” of government dependency and politically unreachable by his campaign. The recording was first published online Monday. Obama has taken the remark, in his campaign, to mean that Romney has “written off” half the voting public. The “60 Minutes” interview alone will ensure that the issue is kept alive well into the weekend.
“That’s not the campaign. That was me, right?” R0mney says. “That’s not a campaign.”
“I’ve got a very effective campaign,” Romney says. “It’s doing a very good job. But not everything I say is elegant. And– and I want to make it very clear, I want to help 100 percent of the American people.”