Nobody can accuse the former Massachusetts governor of not spending enough, so it's fair to say his message simply isn't getting across to enough voters – even in his home state. Taken a step further, his delivery lacks passion, especially compared to his rivals. (Pardon the Star Trek reference, but you might consider Romney Mr. Spock to, say, Santorum's Scotty.)
As my colleague Rose Gordon noted in her “Trail Watch” post earlier this week when discussing Romney's inability to effectively highlight his superior economic background: “It's all about how he explains it, reacts to it, and what he does with it – and Romney doesn't have a clue in this regard.”
Perhaps that's starting to change.
Speaking in Ohio yesterday, Romney gave one of his most emotional speeches, turning away from the usual campaign topics to talk warmly about his wife and family.
“By far the most important thing in my life is my wife. All right? Ann and I fell in love young, we're still in love. We have a marriage that is still filled with love,” said Romney.
It's a start. But there are still two issues here. First, The “all right?” bit still comes off as too defensive, as if he's saying, “OK folks, see, I have a heart. OK!” Of course, those two words might make sense considering that Romney was responding to a voter who asked him to “show the American people you have a lot of heart.”
Romney went on to say, “This is a family crisis going on in America and I think I can help. I can't solve all the problems, but I can make a difference. That's why I am in this race.”
A few brief moments of passion won't make anyone forget how stiff and cold Romney appears at most times, but this does offer a sliver of proof that Romney – or at least his advisers – are starting to realize that it's not just the message that's been Romney's problem, but his delivery. We'll find out next Tuesday how this “new approach” is working.