The Journal wrote in its editorial that Romney’s campaign was too slow to respond and said of Obama’s new attacks on Romney’s foreign bank accounts: “If the Boston boys let that one go unanswered, they ought to be fired for malpractice.”
The “Boston boy” who came into particular focus was Fehrnstrom, Romney’s longtime chief spokesman, who on Monday put the campaign at odds with GOP talking points by saying that the individual mandate in Obama’s health-care law requiring people to buy insurance or pay a penalty is not really a tax.
On Wednesday, Romney belatedly got in line with the rest of his party, saying that the federal mandate is a tax because the Supreme Court ruled it so and that what the Supreme Court rules is the law of the land. The Journal wrote that “the campaign looks confused in addition to being politically dumb.”
Ingraham led the griping on her radio show Thursday, accusing Romney of hiding from a public debate over Obama’s health-care law by taking a week-long vacation with his family at their lakefront compound in Wolfeboro.
“I don’t even think this is his fault,” Ingraham said. She added, “This is the advisers telling him, ‘Oh, it’s fine. Take a week.’ There’s no week to spare. We have a country to save.”
Some of Romney’s top supporters voiced confidence in his team.
Former New Hampshire governor John H. Sununu, a onetime chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush, said in an interview, “I’ve been through enough of these to know that there’s an occasional bump in the road. The art form of campaigning is to have fewer bumps in the road than the other guy and having more high points, and I think this campaign demonstrated that in the primary process.”
Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier and one of Romney’s top fundraisers, said he recently gave Rhoades and Lanhee Chen, the campaign’s policy director, copies of a new book, “The Candidate” by Samuel L. Popkin. Scaramucci said the book discusses two ways that campaigns get derailed: by committing consistent gaffes or by being overly baited by the opponent.
“The campaign has done a very masterful job of trying to keep the message on jobs and the economy,” Scaramucci said. “They’ve done an incredibly effective job of getting the governor to where he is right now. They’ve stayed on message. They haven’t been overly baited.”
Rath, a veteran of presidential campaigns, suggested that the hand-wringing was only natural in the ebbs and flows of campaigns.
“Running a campaign is like being the manager of the [Boston] Red Sox,” Rath said. “Everybody thinks they know how to do your job better than you do.”
Chris Cillizza in Washington contributed to this report.