With his convention over Mitt Romney now launches into the general election campaign with a boost. This was a solid convention, that with the exception of Clint Eastwood’s routine, was well scripted, well delivered and well received. Romney will get his bounce from the convention, particularly in some of the swing state polls. The trick in modern presidential campaigns is holding on to them. Here are four things Romney needs to do to ensure he can leverage the momentum from this convention, continue to make an emotional and rational connection with the voter, and beat back the desperate rhetoric of the Obama machine:
Keep Talking About the Personal Narratives – We all know Romney isn’t a braggart. We also know that there is a very likeable, relatable side of the Governor that people are unfortunately just now beginning to see. The convention speeches helped beat back the perceptions fueled by the Obama campaign that Romney is an elitist and out of touch. However, the personal stories of who Romney and Ryan are, where they come from, the challenges they’ve faced in life and the little anecdotes that humanize each man must continue to be a critical part of the messaging. They must comes through in virtually every aspect of the campaign. The more likable Romney is the more likely he will win in November. As people get to know him on a more personal level, the more Obama will be exposed for being misleading, hyperbolic and exaggerated in his claims about Romney’s values and character.
Get Specific about Per Family Impacts – The first commercial released by the Obama campaign in response to Romney’s convention speech attacked the GOP nominee for his plan that would allegedly increase taxes on middle class families by $2000. Romney needs to counter this will some numbers of his own. Not those in the millions and billions but numbers that reflect the family impacts of his policies. Romney’s best line from the convention speech was. “President Obama wants to heal the world. I pledge to help your family.” Great line, but the Democrats will refute using their bogus numbers. Bogus or not, they’re numbers and people like them. Romney needs to produce a verifiable analysis of his plan and respond on the stump with a real calculation of what his tax cuts will do for America’s families and small businesses.
Continue Speaking to Women – The Obama campaign has spent millions driving their message about the GOP’s supposed “war on women.” Every four years, in good times and bad, this page of the Democrat Party playbook makes its way into the national political discussion. The Romney team, starting with Ann Romney’s speech on Tuesday, followed by Chris Christie, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio and the Governor himself, spoke directly about the importance of women in shaping this nation. Very smart and very effective. It needs to continue. While Obama will continue to try to scare them, Romney can close the gender gap with Obama by simply speaking in a respectful, intelligent and uplifting tone to America’s moms and daughters about how he intends to help our families.
Keep the Contrasts with Obama Simple and Direct – When Romney released his massive economic plan during the primaries, it fell flat because of its length and complexity. As the Governor stated in his convention speech, the issues facing America are simple. He likewise needs a simple message to make people understand the choice they have to make in November. Romney should be plain and direct, telling the American people exactly what they were promised and what Obama delivered. Obama ran on a platform of debt reduction, deficit reduction, lower taxes, lower gas prices, lower healthcare costs, saving Medicare, saving Social Security, economic growth and job creation. He failed to deliver on any of those, plain and simple. Then Romney needs to be equally direct in telling Americans what he will do. The original 55 points have now been boiled down to 5 but it can still be refined to give folks a better sense of the plan for their future.