Romney Attempts Campaign Reset

    In the U.S. presidential race, the latest polls show that President Barack Obama has pulled into a modest lead over his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.  Romney is trying to get his campaign back on track after a difficult two-week period.

    Mitt Romney was in damage control mode as he tried to appeal to Hispanic voters on the Spanish language network Univision.

    “So my campaign is about the 100 percent in America, and I am concerned about them.  I’m concerned about the fact that over the past four years life has become harder for Americans," said Romney.

    Romney has been on the defensive after the release of a secretly-recorded video from a fundraiser in May showed him with a dismissive attitude toward Obama supporters.

    Romney said 47 percent of voters will support the president no matter what because they depend on government handouts and see themselves as victims.

    “So my job is not to worry about those people.  I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives," he said.

    President Obama responded on the David Letterman show.

    “When I meet Republicans as I am traveling around the country, they are hard-working, family people who care deeply about this country and my expectation is that if you want to be president you have to work for everybody, not just for some," said President Obama.

    Analysts say the Romney comments are damaging, at least in the short term.

    “And then he makes the colossal mistake of presuming you can say things in secret," said presidential historian Allan Lichtman.  "We know in this day and age that everything is photographed and recorded and that you can’t just write off half of the American people as dependents and people who don’t pay taxes."

    The comments could also hurt because voters already find the president more likeable than Romney, says Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown.

    “His favorable to unfavorable ratios have not gotten better and voters say Obama much more understands their needs and their lives than Romney, and that is a problem for the challenger," said Brown.

    Obama has built a slight lead in the polls since the party conventions and may be benefiting from an improving public perception of the economy, says Allan Lichtman.

    “That [the economy] was his one big area of advantage over Obama.  That’s gone and on almost every other issue - you know, likeability, national security, foreign policy, health - Obama is ahead," he said.

    Romney’s best and perhaps last opportunity to give himself a boost will come in next month’s debates, says Peter Brown.

    “We are in the final stretch drive and the president is ahead.  Now there are events that afford Romney perhaps the opportunity to change that status quo," he said.

    In addition to the presidential debates there will be one vice presidential debate between the incumbent, Joe Biden, and Republican candidate Paul Ryan.

    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

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