Noonan: Romney campaign is a "rolling calamity"

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles on September 17, 2012.

(CBS News) Peggy Noonan, the Wall Street Journal columnist and former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, hasn't been shy about voicing her concerns about Mitt Romney's campaign, but in a Friday column she stepped up her critique.

"The Romney campaign has to get turned around," she wrote. "This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant 'rolling calamity.'"

Noonan is one of several conservative pundits who in recent weeks have spoken out about the Romney campaign's perceived missteps, such as its response to the crisis in Libya and the lack of policy details put forth. The Romney campaign has largely dismissed the criticism, telling the conservative National Review that being unpopular in Washington is more of an advantage than a disadvantage.

In her column, Noonan said Romney has the opportunity to gain momentum during the presidential debates. The month between the first debate and Election Day is enough time for a "healthy spiral" to begin, she said.

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The columnist suggested the campaign should look to James Baker III, who served as chief of staff in both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, for inspiration and insight into how to run a campaign.

"Mr. Baker's central insight: The candidate can't run the show," Noonan writes. "He can't be the CEO of the campaign and be the candidate. The candidate is out there every day standing for things, fighting for a hearing, trying to get the American people to listen, agree and follow."