Mitt Romney has been on the national political stage for nearly a decade — through two presidential bids, countless campaign events and millions spent on TV ads. But the likely Republican presidential nominee still isn’t well-known to most voters.
So now he’s trying to fix that.
With less than 100 days until the Nov. 6 election, Romney is starting to introduce himself to them in earnest — through a combination of carefully selected media appearances and biographical ads — before President Barack Obama’s efforts to define him in a negative light cripple his candidacy.
“I got the chance to start my own business. ... I went off to have the chance at running the Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002. ... The real experience was in Massachusetts,” the former governor says in a new television commercial released Tuesday that features him on the campaign trail, in factories and with his wife, Ann, by his side. “I want to use those experiences to help Americans have a better future.”
Until now, Romney has emphasized his record at the private-equity firm Bain Capital, giving Obama and other Democrats the chance to portray him in their ads as an out-of-touch corporate raider and job killer. The new ad is an effort to deflect that barrage by letting him round out that biography by touching aspects of it that he hasn’t stressed in the past.
The ad marked the start of a new phase for the Republican presidential candidate as he looks to move from a seven-day, three-nation trip abroad and into a period where the media glare will shine even brighter as he prepares to announce his vice-presidential running mate in the run-up to the GOP convention where he’ll accept the party’s presidential nomination.
In what may be his most extensive series of national broadcast interviews this campaign, Romney and his wife spent much of the trip answering questions from TV anchors on everything from her part-ownership of a horse competing in the Olympics to whether they were each other’s true love (The answer? Yes.).
A CBS News/New York Times poll conducted in mid-July found that 31 percent of registered voters either were undecided or hadn’t heard enough about Romney when asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him.
The new ad is meant to boost those numbers.