Romney camp promises more specifics

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney makes comments on the killing of U.S. embassy officials in Benghazi, Libya, while speaking in Jacksonville, Fla., Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

(CBS News) Mitt Romney's campaign said today that it will offer more specifics of Romney's policy proposals in the future. The announcement follows criticism from conservatives who complained the campaign is too vagueand news stories suggesting discord in the Romney campaign. 

Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to the campaign, told reporters on a conference call Monday morning that after a successful convention that introduced Romney as a person, people are ready "to know even more about policies."

Gillespie said the campaign was shifting to a "new emphasis, and renewed emphasis" on why electing Romney would have a positive impact on their lives. Romney's campaign has thus far been focused largely on making the case that Mr. Obama has failed as a steward of the economy. The Obama campaign, meanwhile, has sought to frame the race as a choice between the two candidates, not a referendum on the president.

Gillespie did not unveil significant specific new policies, and did not address a question on whether Romney will get more specific about an area where he has been hammered in recent weeks - what loopholes and deductions he would eliminate as part of his tax plan. Gillespie said that while there will be some new policies discussed, "most of this is reinforcing."

He pointed to Romney's support for the Keystone XL pipeline and said that the discussion of that is the sort of specific that will allow people to say, "oh, I see, that's how you get to be energy independent by 2020." He also said that the Romney-Ryan ticket will go take advantage of specific venues to discuss topics that they have rarely discussed in the past, and promised more discussion of foreign policy and issues like Medicare.

"We do think the timing is right at this point to reinforce more specifics about the Romney plan for a strong middle class," he said.

Gillespie presented the shift as a "natural progression" as opposed to a response to criticism. He said "the timing is right at this point to reinforce more specifics" in part because many voters are "just now starting to lock in" to the race.

On Sunday night, Politico described a Romney campaign in turmoil, with Romney's convention speech having been cobbled together late in the process. His top strategist, Stuart Stevens, is described as "the leading staff scapegoat for a campaign that suddenly is behind in a race that had been expected to stay neck and neck through Nov. 6." The New York Times also described "an outbreak of finger-pointing" in the campaign, something that has rarely come at this point in past campaigns. Romney also took heat last week for his handling of the violence in Egypt and Libya.

Romney pollster Neil Newhouse sought to counter the notion that Romney is falling behind in the race, pointing to polling to argue that Mr. Obama's convention bounce has dissipated and argue that race is a "dead heat virtually everywhere." Polls suggest that Mr. Obama has built a lead in most swing states and nationally in recent weeks, though in most races the margin is in the single digits.