Romney Shows Softer Side

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 7 2012 11:12 AM

Romney Shows Softer Side While Campaigning in Florida, Attacks Obama on Taxes

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Mitt Romney kisses his wife Ann during a campaign rally Saturday in Apopka, Florida

Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages

Mitt Romney is finally getting personal. After six years in the national spotlight it seems the former Massachusetts governor has listened to those who have long insisted he needs to show his softer side if he hopes to connect to voters. Playing off on the momentum created by Wednesday’s debate, Romney is unveiling what Politico describes as “a direct emotional appeal to voters” during a three-day tour of Florida, candidly talking about personal stories that illustrate his compassionate side, reports the Associated Press. Although surrogates have long talked about the good deeds Romney has done for others, the candidate himself has long been reticent to do it himself.

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign released a new ad Sunday that accuses President Obama of misrepresenting the Republican’s tax reform plans during Wednesday’s debate. (Watch the ad after the jump.) "President Obama continues to distort Mitt Romney’s economic plan,” says the ad voiceover. "The latest? Not telling the truth about Mitt Romney’s tax plan.” In the debate, Obama repeatedly said Romney’s plans would cut $5 trillion in taxes, while Romney insists it would be revenue neutral.

“The issue turns on semantics as much as math,” points out the New York Times, noting that Romney has left himself open to attacks by not specifying what tax deductions he would eliminate in order to make his tax plan revenue neutral. The Obama campaign has been insisting since Wednesday night that Romney was the one who was guilty of misrepresenting his own tax plan during the debate, notes the Hill.

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Meanwhile, in the campaign trail, Romney’s big shift from simply portraying himself as a good manger to emphasizing his personal side seems to be part of a clear effort to convince voters that he’s “a regular guy to whom they can relate,” points out Politico. Particularly significant is that one of the stories he’s now sharing involve his religion, which he has generally avoided. The effort seemed to have the desired effect. The Washington Post notes how a crowd of more than 5,500 carefully listened to Romney, “many with tears welling in their eyes.”

It’s hardy a coincidence Romney unveiled this new strategy in Florida as it’s difficult to imagine the Republican nominee can get to the White House without winning the key state, points out the Los Angeles Times. Romney has held 19 events in Florida since the Republican convention in Tampa, and that’s without counting the numerous times he has sent running mate Paul Ryan into the state, often alongside his mother.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.