Wis. Gov. Walker unhappy with Romney campaign strategy

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) criticized the Mitt Romney campaign on Wednesday, saying it had failed to help the presumptive GOP nominee connect with voters and define what he stood for.

Walker, appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” said the Romney team had focused exclusively on making the race a referendum on Obama, but in the process had not properly presented its own candidate to the public.

“I think there’s a lot of caution,” Walker said. “I think the mistake that they’ve made is the feeling like it can just be a referendum on the president. It’s certainly a part of it for any incumbent, it’s got to be a referendum on, do you like or dislike, not just the president, but his policies … but there’s got to be something more. People don’t just vote somebody out, they’ve got to vote somebody in,” said Walker.

“In many ways they’ve pulled him back and just want it to be a referendum on the president,” Walker continued. “I don’t think that’s enough.”

The Romney campaign has steadfastly argued that Obama’s mishandling of the economy is the only issue in the election that matters, and has labeled most every other issue a “distraction.”

The Obama campaign has hit Romney, charging him with failing to provide more details about the policies he would enact if he is elected. 

Some Republican strategists have argued that Romney’s decision to forgo policy details on many issues could harm his chances to aggressively define who he is and what he stands for.

Walker also criticized the Romney campaign for how the Obama campaign has been able to paint the former Massachusetts governor as socially awkward.

During the GOP primaries, Romney had a historically low favorability rating, and one of his ongoing weaknesses has been his inability to connect with voters on a personal level.

Walker said it was merely a perception pushed by Democrats, and that the Romney campaign needs to address it by putting Romney in the right kind of situations for him to succeed.

“When he was with Paul Ryan and I in Janesville a few weeks ago … on that bus tour, I thought he was great,” Walker said of Romney. “He relates to people well, relates to small-business owners well. I would like to see more of that.

“I think, maybe, get him in a bus, get him around swing states, and not let him out until Nov. 6,” Walker continued. “In fact, I would get rid of the podium, I’d give him a mic, get him right in the crowd, and defy all the stereotypes built about him in the media, because I think he can relate.”

Walker, a rising GOP star, earlier this year survived a recall election in Wisconsin that was initiated after he stripped public-sector unions of bargaining rights.

Polls in the crucial 2012 battleground show Obama with an edge over Romney. A WeAskAmerica poll released last month showed Obama edging his GOP rival by 49 percent to 42.