Goodbye, Mr. Scissorhands: Romney Recaptures Centrist Image

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Mitt Romney won more than just a debate in Denver; he won an opportunity to take the presidency away from Barack Obama. If he plays his cards right, he can repeat his own history and become the 45th President of the United States.

Until the evening got under way, Romney was on the verge of becoming a cartoon character. Obama’s admen spent millions during the summer reducing him to a one-dimensional figure, a rich, heartless plutocrat who cared nothing for the people he was courting. That changed with the debate. Gone was the W. Mitt Scissorhands of Obama’s relentless ad attacks. Instead, Romney looked comfortable in his skin, at ease with ideas, happy to be there and full of confidence. Voters got to see him with no filter. It was like meeting someone you had never met. And for a lot of us who know and respect him, it was therapeutic to see. (For Obama, the look was not so refreshing. After the debate, the Secret Service probably considered giving the President a new code name: Mr. Sandman.)

In ways that were not apparent at first, the debate recast the race as a choice between a smile and a smirk. Romney’s first opportunity is to lock in the chance to be the smiling, optimistic face of American politics, much as Ronald Reagan was in the 1980s. Romney now looks like the more excited of the pair, the candidate brimming with ideas, the one who seems to want the job more and relish its challenges. That’s always very appealing, but especially in times of economic pain and uncertainty. For more than a year the President’s shaky management of the economy has made him the country’s second choice for President. (Romney’s problem had been that he was Americans’ third choice.) But now, if Mitt can capture the role of Mr. Big-Picture Confidence while Obama sticks with his grinding, nit-picking strategy of running a small campaign about small things, the race could continue to move in Romney’s favor.

The second opportunity is about Romney’s image as a problem solver. In the nick of time, he’s freed himself from the ideological-litmus-test drudgery of the Republican primaries and made it clear that he is first and foremost a friendly, economic fix-it man. That is the only kind of Republican who can prevail in a country where changing demographics have made winning national office no easy task for the GOP.

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The third opportunity turns on confidence. Romney’s success in Denver has given his campaign the maneuvering room to do something it has been scared to do until now: move back to the political center. This was already happening before the debate—Romney quietly took more-moderate positions on taxes and deficit reduction in September—but it has continued since, mostly in an effort to win the white college-educated female voters Romney badly needs. He can now embrace his naturally more centrist side without fear of reprisal from the GOP’s conservative base. After looking defeat in the eye throughout September, the party’s movement-conservative warlords have decided, all things being equal, it’s a lot more fun to win.

We know how the Obama team is going to react to this. It will do what all campaigns do when staring into an abyss of plunging polls: it will try to fight off panic by overcompensating. Just when Romney is going to accentuate the positive, Obama’s guys in Chicago are likely to break out the ugly sticks and double down on their negative-ad strategy. Therein lies Romney’s greatest opportunity: as Obama goes small and negative, Romney can best him by ramping up his big positive message of economic repair and renewal. The attacks that worked so well for the Obama campaign over the summer won’t ring as true now to the millions of people who saw the debate. Obama’s biggest weakness is that the only vision his campaign is offering is an endless tirade of what’s wrong with Romney. That message, Big Bird ads and all, looks smaller than ever, and it’s no longer enough to save the President.

For Romney, there is a potential precedent for all this. In 2002 he turned around a losing race for governor of Massachusetts at about this stage. That year, many imagined Mitt to be nothing more than the awkward loser badly beaten by Ted Kennedy in the 1994 Senate race. Local pundits, totally disconnected with voters, thought Mitt was too probusiness, too GOP and too Mormon to win the Bay State. But then Romney started agreeing to TV debates, where he made his case. Mitt surged, winning by five points. Romney is a horse who breaks late and runs hard. And late is now.

Murphy is a Republican consultant and was chief strategist of Romney’s 2002 campaign for governor of Massachusetts

97 comments
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sorne
sorne

Those of you who like this fool are fools yourself, he has no backbone much like a jellyfish just floating what ever way the tide takes him

tma_sierrahills
tma_sierrahills

"That is the only kind of Republican who can prevail in a country where changing demographics have made winning national office no easy task for the GOP."

Yes, the Democratic Party, especially, and the GOP demographic genocide program is a tad behind. Not to worry, it will hit full-force the great-grandkids of any European American now reading this.

RichBachelor
RichBachelor

I created a site named "=?=RichBachelor=?=", it's provide service for wealthy mature men and beautiful or famous women. bing or google it.

Mike P
Mike P

The cultist MR shot his bolt in the first debate. Nowhere to go but down now. There will be a second debate and then a third. The first will get lost in the media noise and then like every other speech, it will be forgotten. If he did it in the third debate, well then there is cause for Dems to fret. The Reps are still riding high on the first,like it will make any difference. Cant you see the tactics here? Let Mitt air his dirty laundry, knowing that it will became fodder for Dems in the debates to follow. The cultist cant help but lie and he will pay for it

akpat
akpat

Why is it that any woman would vote for a man who agrees with the loony Christian Taliban in this country and would allow passage of a bill that would outlaw abortion even in cases of rape and death, and personhood which would ban the way his kids were born and ban the birth control pill.

Its just amnazing. I wonder if Mitt is more Muslim than Morman.

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

Dear High Sheriffs:

If you must post a Republican strategist's take on things, when do we get a Democratic strategist?

ahandout
ahandout

 With Time that's a daily occurrence from multiple Obamahoes.

peacock2828
peacock2828

I don't see why the President would need farming tools.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 Hello Sarah.. Isn't it past your bedtime. The only hoes here are you, Paule and Rusty covering up for your tax cheat candidate.

paulejb
paulejb

"The liberal media loved Obama to death"

"Obama had seen that his friends would protect him, and so he believed he could mail it in Wednesday, but this was the venue that could not be spun. No filter. No edits. No choosing what to put in or leave out. No shaping of the story. Just the story itself, rolled out in real time, sans narration, before 70 million American voters, undoing six years of hype and hysterics. It revealed one small, not all that keen academic, having been inflated by the narrators beyond all recognition, dissolving before everyone's eyes."

http://washingtonexaminer.com/...

The empty suit in an empty chair was exposed and all the media's horses and all the media's men can not put Barry back together again.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 Poor Paule,

Thinks polar bears live in the Antarctic and any of this will matter once the UBS forms are shown to the world.

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

I am from MA originally and he did NOTHING for us. Even the two previous Republican governors Weld and Celucci commented on his GROSS incompetence. The Romney folks can rewrite history for the rest of the country, but those of us who supported Romney and lived under his governance know better. Many of us will be voting for Obama, but we wil also be voting STRONGLY AGAINST the LYING ENTITLED, AND INCOMPETENT ROMNEY.

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

 Romney will not win. Democrats need to calm down. We have seen this uproar before in MA. Once he is outed, he will go back to being the sleazebag liar who hides his taxes and acts as though he is entitled to RULE America. Freakin' INEPT PLUTOCRAT.

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

We are a RED state here and yet they are doing all they can to keep many folks from voting. I am going to be voting in a few days, and called the elections office, and the nut job asked me to bring my passport and drivers license to the polling booth. How crazy is this nonsense. These Republican governors should be voted OUT of office. They are just pawns in the hands of voter suppressing SNAKES.   

paulejb
paulejb

Benevolent Lawyer,

"Obama campaign tries to quell panic"

"David Plouffe, a senior presidential adviser, blames such periodic outbreaks of panic on the “bed-wetters” in the Democratic party." 

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0...

I hope that Plouffe is not talking about you, BL.

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

Haha.. No Paul. That would be you. Once there is bad news about Romney in the media, you inundate this site with post after post. Me, I am very irritated with this Mike Murphy Charlatan. Is all.

Actually, I think I am more indignant about the NUT who did my nails, and used something that looked like a SHOVEL to shape my nails. Now I have a bleeding nail to deal with. About Obama. all I have is CONFIDENCE. Otherwise, I would be too stressed to do my nails during my break.

Yes, I am invested in an Obama win, and have faith, not panic, that people will see Romney as we saw him in MA, a LYING POWER HUNGRY AND ENTITLED PLUTOCRAT.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

paulie, it appears you are rapidly regressing. You sound like you're 12.

Pnnto
Pnnto

There's been a change? Seems like the same stuff for months. 

paulejb
paulejb

Hollywooddeed,

Has no one ever told you what quotation marks (" ") mean, Hollywood?

carotexas
carotexas

I have not ever seen the Obama team panic or over compensate.

I am glad to see that you mentioned Big Bird, that means that it might not be as small as you say.

Four years from now the most remembered part of the first debate might possibly be 

that Romney fired Big Bird.

Pnnto
Pnnto

What Murphy is doing is projection/wishful thinking. We've seen it before. 

I did a quick Google for his contributions to Swampland 4 years ago. They no longer are available, likely because of how pathetic how this place has been run, but they were very funny in a "wow that's just sad" kind of way.

carotexas
carotexas

I remember his posts four years ago, would have been fun to find and compare them.

Big difference in the quality of contributions four years ago to Swampland and this year.

paulejb
paulejb

carotexas,

"David Plouffe, a senior presidential adviser, blames such periodic outbreaks of panic on the “bed-wetters” in the Democratic party."

 http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0...

Wonder who he's talking about, Caro?

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

Mike Murphy Michael Ellis "Mike" Murphy (born 1962) is a Republican political consultant.[1] He has advised such nationally prominent Republicans as John McCain, Rick Lazio, Jeb Bush, John Engler, Tommy Thompson, Spencer Abraham, Christie Whitman, Lamar Alexander, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.[1][2] He was, until January 2006, an adviser to Mitt Romney, the Governor of Massachusetts and an about-to-become candidate for the Republican presidential nomination for the 2008 presidential election.[3]

He stepped down as a result of his role as chief strategist to Governor

Romney as well as Senator McCain, who were both widely expected to be

Republican challengers in the primaries of the 2008 Presidential election. Murphy said he had decided to be neutral in a contest between two close clients, although he would advise each informally.

paulejb
paulejb

The mantra of desperate Democrats: 

"Liar, liar, liar!"

Democrats run amok as the chances of re-election for their 'messiah" diminish. The next 27 days should see a huge number of tantrums, fits, hysterics, conniptions and rage from the Obama deadenders.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 Nothing like the last 4 years have seen from the conservatives.

jmac
jmac

Mike Murphy - Roman's  former campaign manager?    I quit.  Time can go Cheney itself. 

DerekHologram
DerekHologram

Swampland makes a mockery of itself when it allows paid partisan hacks to publish propaganda like this.

Pnnto
Pnnto

Not for the first time. 

What did amuse me was Murphy writing about *his* leading (the obvious subtext) Willard to victory in 2002 and thinking to myself-this is like the sad chap at the bar talking about his high school glory days years ago.

Pnnto
Pnnto

"Obama’s guys in Chicago are likely to break out the ugly sticks and double down on their negative-ad strategy."

Maybe they could hire your firm Murphy. The Revolution Agency. Do they produce any other kind of ad?  

Yet another fraud. 

http://www.revolution-agency.c...

jmac
jmac

In "500 Days" Thomas Ricks reports that Bush told Jacques Chirac that biblical prophecies were being fulfilled and specifically that "Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East."  

Is Romney's religion important?   Why am I just reading about God and Magog and what Bush told Chirac?  As reporters soothe us into Romney in the Middle as they report Obama will go  "small and negative" I want to scream.  But for God sake don't mention it as Fox calls reporting on religion the 'nuclear option' as they hit Obama last week with his old preacher.  

John Cook
John Cook

Let's see. Bush II left and the stock market had lost half its value.... and the economy was losing 800,000 jobs per month. Now.. the stock market is back and 401k value is back... and now we are gaining about 100,000 jobs a month........... So,,, let's elect Romney that would do 5 times what Bush II did, but all will be great.... amazing logic...

allthingsinaname
allthingsinaname

Romney is a Pathological Liar, that is why he fits in with this Republican Strategists, excuse me, Liar.

paulejb
paulejb

The Democrat message remains the same.

"The beatings will continue until morale improves."

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

You don't even read the main posts, do you?

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

I hate this article. It is written by a former Romney Senior Adviser, Mike Murphy,and it is full of FAKE and EXAGGERATED information meant to distress and demoralize Obama supporters. I rarely do this, but to this author I say... GO TO H*** AND EAT SH****T

ahandout
ahandout

 I think you do it more than you admit.

filmnoia
filmnoia

And I second the compliment. Murphy = worthless hack.

ThankyouforFreeAmerica
ThankyouforFreeAmerica

Did Mitt did a good job when he was a governor of a Democrat state? I won't be surprised if the State of Mass would vote for him since he has done a great job there as their ex Governor. Did he turn around a deficit Winter Olympic game to a positive one when he was in-charge? If you don't know please check it out for your self. 

He has my vote and I need a job.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

 Do you mean other than being 47th out of 50 in job creation and only because three other states were devastated by Katrina?  Creating $2.5 billion in new long term debt?  How about raising taxes $250 million a year?

The 2002 Winter Olympics was bailed out by the taxpayer.

DPSnAZ
DPSnAZ

I don't recall one "fact" or issue that candidate Romney hasn't had at least one 180 degree turn on, not one ! This man is a chamaeleon in the brightest colors available!

DPSnAZ
DPSnAZ

 Excellent comment ! Precisely on target !