The Republican Party elite and inside strategists are clearly frustrated with their presidential candidate’s struggles this week.
A bootleg video that reveals Mitt Romney’s ideas to disregard 47 percent of the population, unclear messaging,
and a lack of campaign energy in battleground states has former Massachusetts governor on the defensive.
Upstate GOP strategist Chip Felkel is one of those insiders whom the national party often calls on. He agrees with Senator Lindsey Graham that their nominee needs to get on the ground in key states…and fast. Graham this week said that Romney needs to be “running in Ohio and Florida like he is running for governor and in Virginia like he’s running for sheriff.”
“They have raised an inordinate amount of cash, but they seem to be perhaps not using his time as wisely as some of us would like to see,” says Felkel. “This race will be won in seven or eight battleground states…where he needs to be spending more of his time in the fashion that Sen. Graham says.”
“I don’t think Mitt Romney is lazy, but I think he ought to be going from the crack of dawn to midnight. Every moment counts, every day, every hour, he needs to be asking people for their votes, not their checks,” he adds.
Felkel does not question whether Romney is invested in this race. “He’s had trouble in terms of connecting with voters, we know that,” Felkel observes. “That’s mainly because I don’t think he is a back-slapping kind of candidate.”
“But I do think he wants this, it’s a mission to him.”
The Greenville-based strategist says Romney needs to “pound on the economy and only the economy—the telltale point of the campaign” and should stay away from foreign policy issues that he has “no direct knowledge of,” though Felkel says the Obama Administration seems to be back-peddling on what happened.
Felkel says the northwestern corner of the state is getting a sense of what the battleground states are getting, “where there is a ground and air war” over North Carolina and TV stations in that area have a carry-over audience.
In the end, old-fashioned “retail politics” will be important, the “running for sheriff” mentality Sen. Graham referred to.
“It’s still about connecting with the individual citizens,” says Felkel, “and you can’t do that on Twitter.”