Bob's blog: On the trail with Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney's got some momentum going this week. The president made an unfortunate gaffe when he said the private sector was fine, and Romney and his team have been able to really take that and run - while the president and his team have been stuck trying to explain away that private sector comment.
Of course, Romney had his share of these kinds of things during the primaries. You're going to get these things from both sides. But this time it was the president who managed to do what nobody ever wants to do - he ended up in the other guy's commercials.
These things always fade away though. Ultimately, and I've said this before, this is going to be going to be an election about the economy. The president's getting some people in his own party saying he's got to recalibrate the message and do better on explaining. But what he's really got to do is figure out some way to get these jobs numbers looking better than they really are. If they don't get better it's going to be very difficult for the president come November. Then again, if they get better - elections can be a bit like a golf game: you can have three really bad shots then sink a 40-yard putt at the end and that putt cures a lot.
Besides jobs and the economy, I think one big part of this election that hasn't been addressed much is governance. It seems to me people want to hear from both candidates how they'll get the two sides together and get them to work on attacking the big problems we're facing.
The president said himself the problem is the stalemate. What is it he can do that he's not doing right now to change that? And what could Mitt Romney do that the president isn't able to do? That's where this election is going, I think. It's not so much about big ideas as it's going to be about governance - how to get some of those big ideas into practice.
It won't be easy, of course. This country is very divided. We know that. I've never seen, in all the time I've been in Washington, such a wide gap. People have to change. They're going to have to make compromises. Right now you've got two sides simply unable to do that. Congress sometimes can't even agree on doing things that both sides want to do. Whichever one of these men can figure out how to break that gridlock - I think that's the big idea people are waiting to hear.
I really can't wait to hear what Romney has to say about all this when I hit the trail with him this weekend. He'll be on "Face the Nation" in his first non-Fox News network Sunday show appearance of the campaign, and there's no question we've got plenty of questions for him. We'll talk about things he's said this week and things the president's said this week. We'll talk about the comparison between the two men in their big ideas and their approach to accomplishing that.
After Romney, I'll look to 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., for their take on what Romney had to say, the president's week and more. I'll check in with Sen. Graham about the latest on the intelligence leaks and the situation in Syria, too.
Then I'll turn to a stellar panel of journalists for help in analyzing everything. I've got The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan, National Review & TIME Magazine's Richard Lowry, CBS News Political Correspondent Jan Dickerson and CBS News Political Director John Dickerson.
I really hope you'll tune in to see Romney on his first network Sunday show appearance. I know it will be interesting. Check your local listings so you don't miss a minute of the news.
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