Family Ties

Politico is out with an article about how the Romney family is shaking up the campaign. Since their family is the size of a campaign staff, I guess that works well.

What followed was a family intervention. The candidate’s family prevailed on Mitt Romney, and the campaign operation, to shake things up dramatically, according to campaign insiders. The family pushed for a new message, putting an emphasis on a softer and more moderate image for the GOP nominee — a “let Mitt be Mitt” approach they believed more accurately reflected the looser, generous and more approachable man they knew.

Smart idea. Mitt isn’t an idiot and he’s not an empty suit. Let him be himself, it’s why he is so successful.

One result was Monday’s foreign policy speech at Virginia Military Institute. Aides are now considering following it up with a speech on jobs and the economy, and then one on debt and spending. Another one on energy has also been discussed. The economic speech is designed as a high-profile pushback to the Obama campaign’s attacks. One adviser, invoking the famous Bob Dole quote from 1988, said the gist will be: “Stop lying about my record.”’

I think this is a fantastic idea. Go right at Obama between the debates.

But the biggest change in the ecology, according to the insiders, is the more assertive role of Tagg Romney, who has been “making sure that his father’s environment is such that he’s relaxed when he goes up to do things, and making sure that he’s not over-programmed, and is protected from the cacophony of advice,” a family friend said.

“Romney gets buffeted by all this advice because Romney takes everybody seriously,” the family friend said. “He thinks, ‘Well, gee, I’m talking to businessman X or C or Y. They’re really smart. That’s something I need to factor into my thinking.’ Tagg has been aggressive in saying: ‘There’s no more factoring stuff in. Your thinking is yours. Be who you are! And you’ve got to communicate that to people, and don’t be embarrassed by it.’”

Tagg is doing good things for his father and has a good political future. He’s the most effective Romney surrogate besides Ann. He was the head of marketing for a major sports team. That’s good stuff.

In public and private, Ann Romney made no secret of her frustrations. Candidates’ spouses often think the husband or wife is getting a raw deal, and that they are better than the political caricature being drawn. But Ann Romney’s agitation was palpable: She felt the Obama campaign had dishonestly made her husband out to be something he is not, and was eager to see a more forceful response, especially one that played up his humanity. She wanted to humanize her husband; play up his charity; and showcase how in politics, business and life, he has tried to do the right thing, even when it was not popular.

This is a great strategy. People don’t know the Mitt that Ann knows and fell in love with and has five sons with. Ann is probably the best adviser Romney has right now. I love Ann Romney!

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