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Romney Reportedly Asks Fla. Governor to Downplay Improving Economy

3:12 PM, Jun 21, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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MItt Romney reportedly asked Florida governor Rick Scott to "downplay" the Sunshine State's improving job numbers, according to Bloomberg News:

Scott, a Republican, was asked to say that the state’s jobless rate could improve faster under a Romney presidency, according to the people, who asked not to be named.

What’s unfolding in Florida highlights a dilemma for the Romney campaign: how to allow Republican governors to take credit for economic improvements in their states while faulting Obama’s stewardship of the national economy. Republican governors in OhioVirginiaMichigan and Wisconsin also have highlighted improving economies.

Scott should follow the advice of the Romney campaign and it won’t undermine his own message, said Mac Stipanovich, a political strategist and lobbyist in Florida.

“This is one of those situations where you could have it both ways and there’s enough truth in it that it would resonate,” Stipanovich said. “It would be better if everybody was singing from the same hymnal.”

As the boss wrote in his recent editorial, the Romney campaign might do better to run with the successful Republican governors, not against them:

Campaigns tend to focus on making the case for their uniquely qualified candidate. But the case for Romney as president is immeasurably strengthened if it’s not just about Mitt Romney. His case is reinforced by the successes of governors like Mitch Daniels and Bobby Jindal and Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell and Scott Walker and Susana Martinez. These governors have had real successes dealing with the fiscal and financial challenges their states have faced. And this during the same period in which President Obama (and to some degree President Bush before him) failed to grapple with comparable problems at the national level—and at the same time that Democratic governors and legislators in states like Illinois and California have conspicuously failed.

If Team Romney can become Team Romney-Walker-Daniels-Christie-et al., Romney’s campaign will take on a sharper focus. His chances of prevailing this fall will increase. It’s true that he might win anyway in a long and difficult slog. But a Walker victory in Wisconsin on the first Tuesday in June could provide a defining moment for the Romney campaign—and for the forces of responsible Republican reform against reactionary Democratic opposition.

It’s up to the Romney campaign to seize that moment and spend the months after June 5 explaining that a Republican president is needed to complete at the national level the “work so gloriously prosecuted so far” by Republican governors.

Or, as Wisconsin governor Scott Walker said of Romney, "In order for him to be competitive...he’s going to have to come out and show an aggressive plan to take on what we know are even bigger problems in our federal government."

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