In a rare Sunday morning talk show appearance, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said he was a “solid” and “committed conservative with the kind of principles I think America needs.”
The Republican presidential hopeful appeared on Fox News Sunday days before the Arizona and Michigan primary contests on Tuesday. The presumptive nominee, Romney is likely to carry Arizona but could struggle in Michigan although it is his home state.
Romney’s opposition to the 2008 government bailouts of Detroit automakers, coupled with the perception that he is out-of-touch with the worries of everyday Americans, is frustrating his ability to appeal to blue-collar voters in the state where his father was once governor. His opponent, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, is a more socially conservative candidate with working-class roots.
Rather than apologizing for his wealth, Romney argued that it was testament to his skill to make businesses profitable and promised to bring the same quality to Washington. “If people think that there is something wrong with being successful in America, then they better vote for the other guy,” he said on Fox this Sunday, “because I’ve been extraordinarily successful and I want to use that success and that knowhow to help the American people.”
I, by virtue of my experience, know what it takes to create jobs. I’ve also balanced budgets. Other people talk about doing that. I’ve actually done it as a governor, as the head of an Olympics and as a guy who’s run businesses. I’m going to get America back on track.
“In terms of connecting with the American people,” Romney pointed out that several candidates had “come and gone” in the race for the Republican nomination. “I’ve got more votes than anybody else in this race so far,” he said.
That may be true but but the electorate at large is hardly warming up to a Romney candidacy yet. Among centrist and independent voters, Romney’s unfavorable ratings have increased in critical swing states including Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. President Barack Obama is pulling ahead of him in the areas that will likely decide the outcome of November’s election where unemployment numbers and home foreclosures are still high. Here, Romney can be portrayed as the callous businessman and venture capitalist; a member of the “1 percent” who doesn’t represent the rest of the country.
The problem right-wing primary voters have is that Romney isn’t quite the conservative he says he is. He tried to dispel those concerns on Sunday when he said that “the biggest misconception” about him “would be that I’m a guy that comes from Massachusetts and therefore I can’t be conservative.”
But, you know, if you look at my record in Massachusetts and see that I balanced the budget, lowered taxes nineteen times and enforce the illegal immigration laws, got English immersion in our schools, stood up for traditional marriage, was a pro-life governor.
He also described himself as “progressive” once though and promised not to infringe on abortion rights when he ran for governor in 2002.