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Mitt Romney to critics: Campaign 'doesn't need a turnaround'

September 21, 2012|By Mitchell Landsberg
  • Presidential candidate Mitt Romney tells Scott Pelley of CBS' "60 Minutes" that his campaign does not need a turnaround.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney tells Scott Pelley of CBS' "60… (CBS )

Despite a trying week in which he was forced to explain a damaging videotape and endure rebuffs from fellow Republicans, Mitt Romney  said his campaign was doing fine and didn’t need a turnaround.

“I've got a very effective campaign. It's doing a very good job,” Romney said in an interview with Scott Pelley of CBS’ “60 Minutes.” “But not everything I say is elegant. And -- and I want to make it very clear, I want to help 100% of the American people.”

Romney was, of course, referring to the clandestine video in which he declared that 47% of the American people were certain to vote for President Obama because they paid no income tax, relied on federal entitlements and lacked personal responsibility.

Even before the release of that video by the left-leaning Mother Jones magazine, polls were showing Romney slipping behind Obama, especially in key swing states, and some Republicans were voicing their restlessness with his campaign. But in excerpts of the interview released by CBS on Friday, Romney was steadfast in insisting that he was doing fine.

Pelley: “You are slipping in the polls at this moment. A lot of Republicans are concerned about this campaign. You bill yourself as a turnaround artist. How are you going to turn this campaign around?”

Romney: “Well, actually, we're tied in the polls. We're all within the margin of error. We bounce around -- week to week -- day to day. There are some days we're up. There are some days we're down. We go forward with my message, that this is a time to reinvigorate the American economy, not by expanding government and raising taxes on people, but instead by making sure government encourages entrepreneurship and innovation and gets the private sector hiring again.”

Pelley: “Governor, I appreciate your message very much. But that wasn't precisely the question. You're the CEO of this campaign. A lot of Republicans would like to know, a lot of your donors would like to know, how do you turn this thing around? You've got a little more than six weeks. What do you do?”

Romney: “Well, it doesn't need a turnaround. We've got a campaign which is tied with an incumbent president to [sic] the United States.”

Romney aides had said earlier in the week that the campaign was undergoing a “reboot,” which seemed to acknowledge that it was not going as well as they would like. Any reboot was quickly obscured by the firestorm over the video.

In the interview, which airs Sunday, Pelley pressed Romney about the video and the comments of conservative Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, who called the Romney campaign “incompetent.” (She later corrected herself by saying it was actually a “rolling calamity.”)

“That's not … that's not the campaign,” Romney said. “That was me, right? I -- that's not a campaign.”

Pelley’s response: “You are the campaign.”

mitchell.landsberg@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATlands

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