By Justin Sink
The Republican presidential candidate has increasingly adopted that message in the closing days of the 2012 presidential election, looking to marginalize the president by both invoking his economic record and depicting him as campaigning on petty issues.
"Four years ago, candidate Obama spoke to the scale of the times," Romney plans to say. "Today, he shrinks from it, trying instead to distract our attention from the biggest issues to the smallest — from characters on Sesame Street and silly word games to misdirected personal attacks he knows are false."
But while Romney aides are looking to magnify the importance of the address, many of the lines closely mirror the arguments Romney has made on the stump in recent days. Romney will, as he did during multiple campaign appearances in Ohio on Thursday, say the president's economic policies affect workers with less pay, Medicare recipients who have fewer doctors they can see and college students with mounting debt.
The Republican also plans to argue that as governor of Massachusetts he accomplished goals in a bipartisan manner — another point he has repeatedly hit on the stump.
"I was elected as a Republican governor in a state with a legislature that was 85 percent Democrat," Romney is to say. "We were looking at a multibillion dollar budget gap. But instead of fighting with one another, we came together to solve our problems."
If the speech as delivered is similarly derivative of Romney's recent campaign appearances, it could be a sign that the Republican nominee genuinely believes that he has captured the momentum in the race, and needs to do little to shake it up. Most polling indicates that the Republican nominee has a small yet steady lead at the national polls, although continues to trail in pivotal battlegrounds including Ohio, Nevada, Iowa and Wisconsin where he would need to defeat the president to win the White House.
On Thursday, the Obama campaign dismissed Romney's attempts to seize the "change" mantle in a statement to reporters.
"Mitt Romney keeps promising that change is on the way, but all he’s promising is a return to the failed policies that crashed the economy and devastated the middle class in the first place," said Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith. "He’d bring back these policies by raising taxes on the middle class to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires and letting Wall Street write its own rules again. And what’s worse is that we know he’d be nothing but a rubberstamp for the far-right wing in the White House. If he can’t stand up to people like Grover Norquist and Richard Mourdock today, he can’t be trusted to as president.”