Today in Colorado, Mitt Romney is rolling out, or re-rolling out, some specifics in his economic agenda. These are all items he put out, whether in a speech or white paper, during the primary.
This is not a criticism. Reporters, who essentially came in at the beginning of this show may think they’ve see it all, and they have. But those who have just wandered in during intermission (real voters) will, the Romney team, hopes learn something.
The focus, in part we suspect to push back against the rich-guy, attacks, is on boosting the middle class. Most Americans, by the way, think they are middle class, although by definition not everyone is. But Romney’s goal here is to beat Obama at his own game in empathizing with these voters. (“I hope he understands that the people who have a good idea and start the business are the ones who actually build the business.”)
As Romney moves into the specifics, and the White House moves into countering his specifics, sometimes with incomplete or blatantly false information, the Romney team could use someone good with the numbers and able to fit those numbers into a bigger narrative. That’s a job for which House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is well suited. You may remember this video during the 2011 budget fight:
His ability to take a complex set of facts, simplify them and then make an argument for a policy based on the data is unmatched on the GOP side. Likewise, he is extremely experienced from two years of budget and entitlement PR battles with the White House in taking down the president’s arguments. It was for this very reason many conservatives wanted him for the top of the ticket.
But as the No. 2 on the GOP presidential ticket he could certainly carry out the traditional attack-dog role, but with a little more earnestness and wonkiness than you see from, well, Joe Biden, for one.
Romney has a new graphic to explain his major policy items. It is no easy matter to take what looks like a corporate training document and convert it into a political agenda that is compelling. This public education/persuasion ability is certainly a campaign talent, but it is also a critical governing skill Romney will need to assist him if he’s elected.
Romney is going to find himself in an endless cycle of explain-rebut-explain-rebut. Even if, as my colleague Greg Sargent notes, there isn’t enough detail to fully analyze some of his plans, the Obama team will do it anyway, in the most unfavorable light. To untangle that, articulate what Romney really wants to do and keep the media from diving entirely into the Obama oppo pool, Romney could use a running mate with the sorts of skills Ryan has already shown. Just saying.