Romney asks donors to keep an open mind

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann arrive onto the stage to speak at a fundraiser at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California September 22, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read)

(CBS News) The chair of the Republican Party admitted Sunday that it was not the best week for the GOP presidential ticket, and the polls reflect that.

With 44 days left in the race, Governor Romney trails by a few points, or more, in nearly every battleground state.

In Beverly Hills, California, on Saturday night, Mitt Romney was urging donors to keep an open mind after a rocky week.

"You may not agree with me on every issue. And the American people may not agree with me on every issue. But I don't think I've ever been called anything besides a strong leader. I know how to lead. I will bring America together," Romney said.

Stumping in the key state of Wisconsin, the president criticized Romney again yesterday for comments he made at a closed-door fundraiser about Americans who don't pay federal income taxes.

"We can't get very far if we're just writing off half the country as a bunch of victims. Or presume that somehow they want to be dependent on government or don't want to take responsibility for their own lives," President Obama said.

Romney's comments set off a round of hand wringing among some Republicans this week. Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan sought to quell the doubters at a town hall in Florida.

"There will always be critics. There are always people who have other ideas on how best to achieve things. But guess what? I have rarely seen a moment where the man and the moment have met so well," Ryan said.

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On Sunday, the chair of the Republican National Committee pushed back against GOP complaints that Romney wasn't getting specific enough about his plans.

"As far as specifics go, we're the only ones talking about how to save Medicare. The president's the one that raided Medicare by $700 billion. I mean, we've got specifics coming out of our eyeballs," RNC Chair Reince Preibus said.

But some influential Republicans are still speaking up, like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who told Fox News the Romney campaign needs more focus and better communication.

"The more we get off on these side issues, whether its individual taxes or this video comment, that really distracts from the larger debate. I want to see him lit up and ready to go because that is the Mitt Romney I know," Walker said.

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    Nancy Cordes is CBS News' congressional correspondent.