GOP: Top-of-ticket problems trickle down

Sept. 21, 2012 at 1:29 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- As Election Day nears, Republican U.S. presidential nominee Mitt Romney is working to move beyond what political analysts are calling a turbulent week.

Republicans have expressed frustration that Romney has yet to seize a commanding lead in any of the battleground states, The New York Times reported Friday.

Romney has spent much of the week trying to tamp down blowback from a surreptitiously taped remark he made during a May fundraiser, when he said 47 percent of Americans do not pay income taxes, "who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you-name-it -- that that's an entitlement -- and the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what."

The criticism has come from both outside and within his party.

"The presidential thing is bound to have an impact on every election," former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, the Republican U.S. Senate nominee, told a Madison television station. "If your standard-bearer for the presidency is not doing well, it's going to reflect on the down ballot."

Republican strategists elsewhere told the Times their candidates were being asked about Romney's remarks as well, creating potential quagmires for Republicans in tough races.

In Colorado, GOP strategist Dick Wadhams said he hoped to see Romney campaign more intensely for swing voters in suburban Denver. He told the Times he was pleased Romney planned to visit the state this weekend for the first time in seven weeks.

Swing voters "want to vote against Obama, but they haven't quite come to the point where they're going to vote for Romney," Wadhams said.

Campaigning Friday in Sarasota, Fla., Romney seized on a remark Obama made Thursday during a town hall in Miami, when the president said: "You can't change Washington just from the inside. You change it from the outside."

Romney Friday accused Obama of throwing in the "white flag" on change: "I will change Washington. I will get the job done from the inside."

Firing back, Obama said at a campaign rally in Woodbridge, Va.

"For some reason, my opponent got really excited. He rewrote his speech, proudly declared 'I'll get the job done from the inside,'" the president said.

"What kind of inside job is he talking about?"

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