For a supposed lukewarm moderate, Mitt Romney has managed to step up his rhetoric fairly well now that he is the presumptive GOP nominee for President. Speaking to Breitbart TV's Larry O'Connor today, Romney blasted what he labeled (in an ironic nod to Hillary Clinton) the "vast left wing conspiracy" in the media, and their persistent efforts to distract from President Obama's poor handling of the economy by attacking Republicans. Romney said:
There will be an effort by the quote vast left wing conspiracy to work together to put out their message and to attack me. They're going to do everything they can to divert from the message people care about, which is a growing economy that creates more jobs and rising incomes. That's what people care about.
This kind of overt media criticism marks a stark departure from 2008 Republican nominee John McCain, who was infamous for his chummy relationship with the press. Romney apparently suffers no illusions that he will get a fair shake now that he is the man going up against President Obama. Moreover, the friendly tone of the interview suggested that conservative outlets are beginning to warm up to Romney.
Romney predicted the media strategy would fail. "We're not stupid, it's about the economy," he said. "I know it's an uphill battle we fight with the media, but fortunately there are voices like yours that have more credibility."
Regarding his support among grassroots conservatives, Romney also sent hopeful signals. "I'm gonna spend time meeting with members of the Tea Party," he said. "I think as they get to know me better and the things I believe about the country and the challenges the country faces that they'll be highly motivated and energized."
Romney also predicted that President Obama's platform would itself be an inspiration to conservatives in that it would completely repulse them. Throughout the course of the interview, he also promised to take action on Obamacare, and credited conservative new media outlets with driving much of the opposition to the health care law.