A panel of the GOP’s top strategists met on Thursday to discuss the three things Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney must say in his convention speech in order to increase his chances of winning the election.
A few strategists disagreed on the areas the Republican candidate should focus on, but they all agreed on one thing: Romney needs to make tonight’s speech, arguably the most important of his career, a forceful one to remember.
Here are the three things Mitt Romney must focus on in tonight’s speech [via American Enterprise Institute]:
‘Present a Vision for the Future of the Country’
“Most people know what he is against and what he will undo, but they don’t yet know what he is going to do and how he is going to do it, and that is the big challenge for tonight’s speech,” said Terry Nelson, George W. Bush’s 2004 political director.
‘Let People See Mitt The Person’
One-in-three Americans say they know very little about candidate Romney, panel moderator Bob Schieffer noted. Considering the fact that the former Massachusetts governor has been gunning for this nomination since 2007, that number shouldn’t be that high.
John Brabender, former senior adviser to Rick Santorum, said listing Romney’s personal biography isn’t going to be enough.
“The biography point needs to be something that illustrates a bigger point. What he in some sense has to do is let people into his heart and mind a little bit and make a personal judgment about him,” he said.
‘Present Something New’
Former George W. Bush campaign strategist Sara Fagen says the Romney campaign needs to stop being coy about specific policy plans.
“What we most importantly need in addition to the human side of this, is something new,” she said. “There hasn’t been anything new from a policy perspective that has really broken through in the last many months … He’s got to boil it down to two or three things tonight that resonate, that feel like they are new.”
“Sara Fagen predicted that there would be a ‘breakout moment’ when the momentum will shift decisively to one campaign or the other,” Henrik Temp reports for AEI.
“Brabender agreed, saying that he thinks it’s entirely possible that we will see a late and dramatic shift away from President Obama in the final week or two of the campaign; as he called it, a ‘collapse’ for Obama,” Temp adds.
It wouldn’t be the first time this happened. You may recall that in the final weeks of the 1980 election, Jimmy Carter actually led Ronald Reagan in most polls. It wasn’t until Americans decided that Reagan was the safe and wise bet that they dumped Carter.
It’s entirely plausible the same could happen in 2012. However, Romney has to prove that he’s the safe and reliable bet. Heeding the advice of Thursday’s strategist panel could certainly make that happen.
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All photos courtesy the AP.