John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Message to Romney: Stick to the Economy

Posted on May 8, 2012

            Willie Sutton was a wise man.  When asked why he robbed banks, he reportedly said:  “That’s where the money is.”


The Romney campaign would be well served to take that advice to heart in the context of this coming election.


He should stick to the economy because that is where the votes are.


Mr. Romney has been straying off message too often into foreign policy.


His message when he has one tends to be ever more hawkish.  Let’s invade Iran.  Let's beat up Putin.  Let’s hit the Chinese.  Let’s stay in Afghanistan.  Let’s attack the Palestinians.


Romney is beating his chest in an effort to seem more macho than President Obama, who is beating his chest for authorizing the killing of Osama Bin Laden.


It all seems a bit childish to me.


The American people, while they want to feel safe and secure, are tired of war.   They are glad that Bin Laden is dead, but I doubt very seriously if that will be the top issue when they enter the voting booth.


The number one issue for Mitt Romney is the economy.  And not surprisingly, that is where Mr. Romney has his biggest advantage against Mr. Obama.


Unlike the President, Mr. Romney has done more than theory when it comes to job creation.  His advantage on this key issue is obvious, it is substantial, and it is overwhelming.


So, why does the Romney campaign seem intent on changing the subject by talking about foreign policy?


The fact of the matter is only a few voters really care about foreign policy unless of course it has something to do with the economy.


Sure, they care about war and they are concerned about terrorism.


But on the war on terror, there is really very little difference between the approach taken by Mr. Obama and the approach taken by George Bush.  Obama campaigned on closing Gitmo and ending wiretaps and stopping torture, but as far as I can see, on most of those issues, there is more continuity than contrast.


Obama has kept most of the Bush policies in place and most of those policies will be kept in place by Romney when he gets to the White House.


So, what is the use of splitting hairs on policy Obama agrees with us on?


Why not focus instead on the truly dramatic differences between Obama and Romney?  Issues like stimulus spending and tax increases vs. pro-growth economic policies?


If Romney does want to venture into national defense, he should talk about it in the context of jobs.  Obama wants to keep in place a defense sequester that will not only make America less secure, but also kill hundreds of thousands of jobs.


Seems to me that is a pretty good issue for Romney to talk about.


My advice to the Romney campaign:  Stay away from the esoterics of foreign policy and stick to the main message of jobs and the economy.  That is where the votes are.