By Judd Gregg - 08/29/12 03:45 AM EDT
It seems like every pundit you read or watch on cable news right now has an opinion about what Mitt Romney should say to set the correct tone for the Republican convention and the remainder of the presidential campaign.
It is interesting to observe — and, unfortunately, as it relates to TV, it is all one gets to observe. Television news has missed the point that this is a convention of Republican delegates, not a convention of national pundits.
Independent of this “news coverage,” it is somewhat unusual that so many people want to tell Romney what he should say.
They simply do not seem to have confidence that he can do this on his own and feel he must need their help.
The irony is that in most cases these folks have never run for office or, if they have, they did not win their last race. Otherwise, they would not be doing TV for a living.
On the other hand, Romney has been running for a while. He has a rather large amount of success to show for his efforts and his ability to define and explain why he is running for president.
I have had occasion to be on the same path as Romney, as a follower.
One thing is fairly obvious. He has a core set of principles and views that drive him.
If he did not, he would never have done as much as he has, or put himself and his family through as much as he has.
It is probably unnecessary, and a bit tasteless, to try and tell someone like that what he should say just as he is about to deliver the most important speech he has given in the last 10 years .
When Mitt first ran for president, in 2008, I supported him and was technically in charge of his primary campaign in New Hampshire, which we lost to Sen. John McCainJohn McCainVeteran and single father wants Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces passed Meghan McCain fires back at Drudge over ‘obnoxious’ headline Ryan: Obama putting 'pet' projects above troops MORE (R-Ariz.).
We would go from town hall meeting to town hall meeting and Mitt would spend the better part of his speech excoriating Congress and its ineptness.
He would be preceded by surrogates brought in from around the country who would do the same.
In the beginning, I would be on the stage behind him, the sitting senator from New Hampshire looking out across a crowd of folks. I knew many of them and represented most of them for 25 years or so in some capacity. I thought maybe I should suggest that Mitt change his speech a little and note an exception or two to his line about an incompetent Congress.
But I concluded this would be foolish — because it was not what Mitt wanted to say.
He knew who he was and why he was running, and he was going to say what he wanted to.
It was a good way to run for office.
It would be nice if more people did that. Of course, after a while, I sort of moved off the stage so I was not sitting behind him as he railed against the failures of the Senate and its members.
Mitt’s acceptance speech in Tampa will be exceptional.
He will state again, in a vibrant manner, with a clarity that even the pundits cannot mangle, why he believes this country needs to move toward an opportunity culture where free markets and free people meet to give themselves and this nation its unique strength and greatness.
Equally important, he will point out why we cannot afford the efforts of this administration to sidetrack our country and make us a dependency nation similar to the social-welfare states of Europe.
Thursday will be a fun night for those of us who have followed Mitt’s political career. I suspect it will also be a positive introduction for those Americans who are not as familiar with Mitt and his exceptional belief in the resilience of our nation and our people.
Judd Gregg is a former governor and three-term senator from New Hampshire who served as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and as ranking member of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Foreign Operations. He also is an international adviser to Goldman Sachs.