There is dissent in the ranks of the Mitt Romney campaign over whether the candidate should pivot to foreign policy, given President Obama's lead in polls despite voter dissatisfaction with his handling of the economy. So Romney doing a sort of semi-pivot. Romney has an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal Monday criticizing President Obama for his handling of the Middle East, and his advisers tell Politico that he'll give a big foreign policy speech a few days after the first presidential debate Wednesday. But for the most part, Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei report, Romney will stick to talking about the economy. Since Romney's not doing a complete pivot, it might be better to think of this move as a Healy, a full one-armed pirouette to a changed hand grip, as seen at right performed by Gabby Douglas. Romney is moving in the same direction, but grasping the issues in a slightly different way.
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The truth is Romney now finds himself besieged with conflicting advice, internally and externally: Attack Obama harder. Offer a detailed agenda. Pivot to foreign policy. Pivot back to the economy.
Romney is going to mostly ignore it and focus on the economy. He will talk about Libya in the broader context of saying Obama's foreign policy has failed, but he won't talk in detail about the murder of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens or the intelligence failures that might have put him and three others at risk.
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So you can see that in the Journal, where Romney criticizes Obama for projecting weakness. September's protests in the Middle East were not "bumps in the road," as Obama called them, but Romney writes, but "major issues that put our security at risk." He continues, "Yet amid this upheaval, our country seems to be at the mercy of events rather than shaping them." And, "But in recent years, President Obama has allowed our leadership to atrophy." And, "Finally, our values have been misapplied—and misunderstood—by a president who thinks that weakness will win favor with our adversaries." Vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan spoke to the same theme on Fox News Sunday.
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But at least one "top adviser" thinks this doesn't go far enough, and will cost Romney the election. He or she told Politico:
"This is going to be one of these things that you and others who write the books are going to talk about. Was this an opportunity to go after the president on failure, and try and get people to focus on the president’s policy failure? And everybody will say, 'Well, it was the fateful decision. They decided not to do it.'"